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05 Oct 07. The UK MoD has today selected the Thales UK and Boeing team as the preferred bidder for the Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) Systems of Systems Integrator (SOSI) role. The SOSI will help coordinate the complex procurement of over 3,000 vehicles of many different types.

The SOSI will provide independent support to the MoD by bringing expert programme management and system of systems engineering skills to the FRES programme. Defence Minister Lord Drayson said: “The FRES project is the British Army’s highest equipment priority. This announcement, almost two months ahead of schedule, demonstrates the excellent progress now being made on FRES. The selection of the SOSI is a key part of our innovative acquisition strategy designed to ensure that we deliver the best solution for the Army as quickly as possible.”

The FRES fleet of armoured fighting vehicles will have high levels of protection and will be air-transportable, allowing troops to deploy rapidly across the globe at short notice.

General Sir Richard Dannatt, Chief of the General Staff (CGS), said: “I welcome the announcement today by Lord Drayson of the FRES System of Systems Integrator. I am sure that the Thales UK and Boeing team will play a pivotal role in the delivery of FRES capability.

“This is an important decision, soon to be followed by even more significant FRES announcements, including the selection of the Utility Vehicle Designer. Progress has been rapid in the FRES programme over the past 18 months and I am committed to maintaining this momentum towards the introduction into service of the first FRES vehicles and beyond.

“FRES will be at the heart of the future Army and remains the Army’s highest equipment capability priority after support to current operations.”

The MoD has also appointed the legal firm Herbert Smith to provide the FRES team with intellectual property, commercial and legal advice. Lord Drayson said: “Herbert Smith’s appointment reflects the MOD’s commitment to ensure that Intellectual Property, Design Authority, and systems architecture for FRES will reside in the UK as set out in the government’s Defence Industrial Strategy.”

The SOSI role is one of a number of competitions that will be conducted as part of the innovative acquisition strategy for FRES. The utility vehicle design competition is underway on which a decision on the winner will be made by the end of November 2007. The next significant step will be the selection of a UV Integrator for which a Pre-Qualification Questionnaire will be issued to industry by the end of October 2007. Further competitions will select the designs for other variants for roles such as reconnaissance, direct fire and engineering support.

SOSI will provide six principle services to the MOD in order to help MOD achieve its overall programme objectives. They are;
* Programme Management
* System of Systems Engineering and Integration
* Alliance Development and Management
* Development of MoD’s SOSI competence
* Through Life Capability Management
* Through Life Technology Management

Dennis Muilenburg, vice president and general manager, Boeing Combat Systems, said, “Today’s announcement is a positive reflection of the world-class capabilities that Boeing and Thales are bringing to bear to successfully execute this important program, and our commitment to fully support the intent of the UK
Defence Industrial Strategy. We have developed a strong and collaborative relationship within our integrated team, a characteristic that we will bring to our relationship with the MoD for the System of Systems Integrator for FRES.”

“This is the most excellent news,” said Alex Dorrian, CEO of Thales UK. “Thales and our partner Boeing are absolutely committed to helping the MoD achieve success in FRES, which is the UK Army’s highest priority equipment program. We are ready to build upon the rapid decision made by the MoD to drive forward

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