16 Mar 06. Sweden: Next Generation Light Anti-tank Weapon (NLAW) Assembly. Thales UK announced a £10m contract with Saab Bofors Dynamics for NLAW missile assembly. The contract follows the selection of Saab Bofors Dynamics, on 22 Dec 05, to supply NLAW to the Swedish Armed Forces for 500m krona (£35m). Comment: Thales UK’s Belfast facility is Saab Bofors Dynamics’ principle UK partner for the supply of NLAW to the British and Swedish Armed Forces. The value of the UK contract was £400m in 2002. NLAW’s development has been mainly in Sweden, with production taking place in the UK. Numbers of weapons have not been released but the financial details suggest some 2,000 for Sweden and possibly 25,000 for the UK. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0612, 20 Mar 06)
16 Mar 06. Avio beat Rolls-Royce in the race for supplying engines for the new frigates resulting from the Italian-French FREMM [Multi-Mission Frigate] programme. The order is the biggest in Europe in the defence sector from the Second World War to today, and for Avio it is worth around €150m. The new frigates, 10 destined for the Italian Navy and 17 for the French one, will go into service between 2011 and 2022. Yesterday, Avio, a company of the Finmeccanica group, signed the master agreement with the French DCN [Naval Construction Administration] and Italian Fincantieri shipyards; the first eight turbines (destined for France, who had an option on them) will be delivered from 2008 to 2013. Avio won the order after a contest that lasted over three years, in which the main and very seasoned competitor was the British firm Rolls-Royce, over which the Italian company won thanks to the competitiveness of the bid and the technology of the propulsion unit based on the turbines built in partnership with General Electric.The contract will enable Avio to operate continuously in the naval propulsion sector for the next 20 years. The Italian corporation is responsible for the order and besides the engines will also supply other high-technology components, like the electronic control system developed using experience in electronics for aeronautical engines. The system facilitates the piloting operations of the ship and reduces the maintenance times for the turbine. Avio, moreover, will take care of the final assembly of the propulsion unit, installation on board, and in-service support. Thrust modules and related auxiliary systems will be manufactured and assembled in part in the Brindisi facility, where 800 persons work.
BATTLESPACE Coment: Thbis was a ‘must win’ for the GE-Avio Team. After losing out in the UK and U.S. to the Rolls-Northrop Team, GE desparetly needed an order to keep its ship propulsion business solvent. It had invested heavily in the UK in particular.
16 Mar 06. Combined Aerial Target Service (CATS): Preferred Bidder. The Defence Procurement Minister named QinetiQ as the preferred bidder for the CATS programme, which is to provide all Service subsonic aerial targets for 20 years. Supersonic aerial targets will continue to be procured through an agreement with the USA. Weapon systems using CATS will include the RN Sea Dart and (future) PAAMS, the Army High Velocity Missile and Rapier and the RAF Sidewinder, ASRAAM, AMRAAM and BVRAAM. Comment: The CATS programme has had a chequered procurement history. In September 2001, the Defence Procurement Agency (DPA) forecast contract placement in late 2003 which would lead to an in-service date of December 2004. No contract value was made public with the recent announcement, but in September 2002 the DPA valued CATS at “up to £710m”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0612, 20 Mar 06)
20 Mar 06. QinetiQ secures £2.5m contract to train US aircrews. QinetiQ has secured a contract worth up to £2.5m with the United States Air Forces Europe (USAFE) for air combat training of US aircrews. The contract is similar to QinetiQ’s Long Term Partnering Agreement (LTPA) with the UK MO