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Jul 10. Public Expenditure: 2009/10 Accounts. HM Treasury published (26 Jul 10) Public Expenditure 2009/10: Provisional Outturn. The MoD published(26 Jul 10) Consolidated Departmental Resource Accounts 2009/10.
Comment: Both documents are mainly of interest to the financial specialist. The Treasury publication is Command 7911 (for £8:25) and the MoD accounts are HC 258 (for £35:50). The Comptroller and Auditor General has “limited the scope of his audit opinion” on the MoD’s accounts (again!) since the MoD “was unable to provide evidence to support the existence and value of certain assets and inventory balances”.(Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/230, 02 Aug 10)

21 Jul 10. Defence Budget: Financial Management. The National Audit Office (NAO) published (21 Jul 10) a Report on Strategic Financial Management of the Defence Budget. The Report concludes that the MoD “does not place sufficient emphasis on financial management in its decision making”. The forthcoming Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR) should provide an opportunity to rebalance future spending plans in the short term (but the challenge will be to ensure that the plans remain in balance).
Comment: As the Report highlights, the MoD not only has the SDSR to cope with but also a Comprehensive Spending Review for 2011/12 to 2014/15 and the 2011/12 Planning Round. The Report is more interesting than the title suggests and is published, as HC 290, for £14:75. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 09/230, 02 Aug 10)

04 Aug 10. The European unmanned ground vehicles (UGV) market is growing slowly but steadily, depicting a relatively undisturbed trend for the year 2011 and beyond. The United States has progressed in terms of the network enabled capability of their defence resources, spurring the Departments of Defence (DoDs) of various European countries to focus on unmanned network centric solutions. Currently, soldier force modernisation is on the agenda of several European countries, to retain their technological edge over developing nations. The gap between U.S. and European defence technology is an additional instigating factor. UGV is becoming an integral part of network centric warfare. New analysis from Frost & Sullivan (http://www.aerospace.frost.com), Unmanned Ground Vehicles Market Assessment – Europe, finds that the market earned revenues of $302.5m in 2009 and estimates this to reach $311.2m by 2016.
“Network enabled capabilities are gradually gaining momentum within the Ministries of Defence (MoDs),” says Frost & Sullivan Research Analyst Shyam Srinivasan. “The ability of remotely patrolling a group of vehicles and strategising battlefield formations has evoked an interest to graduate to unmanned artillery in the future.”
The European UGV industry has remained niche. The future lies in opening up opportunities for smaller participants to penetrate the market. Another potential is in the maintenance and repair of such specialised machinery in the period from now to 2016. However, reduced defence budget allocation is one of the primary restraints to the UGV market. Furthermore, lean expenditure on new technology is to support the production of traditional weapons for the Afghan war.
“The unit cost of the equipment is also a restraint to procurement in numbers,” explains Srinivasan. “For example, a small unmanned ground vehicle (SUGV) with electro-optics/infrared (EO/IR) sensors would cost about $20,000 and the cost of explosive ordnance disposal (EOD) machinery can go up to $300,000.”
The industry should focus on the commercial and civil market to increase revenue. The lower unit cost can be attained by using less expensive materials and technologies. Progress towards expendable equipment will result in manufacturing affordable equipment.
“Civil security and border patrol to tackle improvised explosive devices (IEDs) are some of the potential areas to focus on for greater revenue in the long-term,” concludes Srinivasan.
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