AUSA WEST COAST AND EUROSATORY – PROVIDING SOLUTIONS
By Julian Nettlefold
History suggests that a combination of a war on two fronts and a tight Defence Budget requires a major rethink by MoDs and the Armed Forces alike to create a balance between protecting troops on the ground by providing the best equipment in the fastest time and balancing the books at the same time in order to keep mainstream procurements active. The arrival of 24/7 news coverage on the battlefield also brings any breakdown in this process directly into the living rooms of the general public and the families of those soldiers on the ground. Thus, given this technology, MoDs have to react quickly to bring new equipments into theatre using innovative procurement techniques – the Urgent Operational requirement (UOR) being the benchmark. The defeat of the IED is top on the agenda.
Armies are fighting a battle today which changes the way we do business, we have to deliver the capability required faster and more efficiently. Today’s conflicts require vehicles to fight through the enemy and survive. This has meant a complete rethink on the protection levels given to vehicle fleets. These vehicles, their crew and their cargoes must now survive any engagement and survive the battlefield. Thus, proper armoured protection mist be provided to vehicles down to the light fleet. These protection packages must be flexible in their application and be taken off when not in use.
This huge growth in the use of complex IEDs in Iraq and Afghanistan has spurred the U.S. DoD in particular to find new methods to defeat this awesome and effective weapon. The DoD has set up a special fund with a $4bn injection to fund new methods of defeating IEDs. All the major defense contractors have formed IED segments to access this fund and thus produce the required solutions.
This year has seen the growth of topics at Conferences and Exhibitions designed to address these particular issue rather than generic product and future Requirements.
In April Raytheon Company launched a new Web site to recruit industry and academic partners to help defeat improvised explosive devices (IED), the No. 1 killer of service members in Iraq and Afghanistan. Potential partners can join the effort by registering solutions and ideas at
The Web site allows industry and academia to make teaming and partnership recommendations for proposed solutions and to receive rapid, confidential reviews and feedback on those solutions. The site also maintains proprietary safeguards to protect submitted information against improper disclosure.
Lockheed Martin is also believed to be looking at new technologies. But, one company, ITT is ahead of the bunch following its smart move to acquire EDO. Another company following close behind is Allen Vanguard, the Canadian specialist EoD Company. We will discuss these two companies in particular later in the piece.
AUSA Greater Los Angeles Chapter Meet
One of the platforms used to great effect by the U.S. Army was this year’s AUSA Greater Los Angeles Chapter Meet held at The Westin Hotel, Long Beach, California, USA, from May 29-30. The Editor was lucky enough to receive an invitation from Dave Hall of Agile Communications and Felicia Campbell of DRS Technologies who organized the event.
Expecting to find the usual scenario of some good, some bad, speeches and Q&As, the Editor found the best kept secret on the Conference Circuit!
Firstly, the speaker line up was one of the most impressive I have seen to date, numbering no less than four serving U.S. Generals and a superb Chairman in DRS’s Robert Viviano, 1st Vice President, Greater Los Angels Chapter, AUSA.
It is worth outlining the Day 1 Conference Program and speakers for those wishing to sign on for next year. The Editor has already accepted the invitation. As an aside, on the last night there is the Army Birthday Ball. This year I missed it, but Fe