Apr 06. ‘C’ Vehicles: New Arrangements in Place. The Defence Procurement Agency announced (Preview, April 2006) that a new ‘C’ vehicle capability had entered service in March 2006. A 15-year contract, worth £600m, was awarded to the Amey Lex Consortium (ALC) on 14 Jun 05. The contract provides the MoD with a worldwide facility to use a wide range of construction and field mechanical handling equipment, operated mainly by the Royal Engineers and the Royal Logistic Corps. The previous fleet of some 4,000 vehicles has been acquired by AMC. Comment: The contract covers heavy plant equipment, logistic support and construction machines ranging from dump trucks and dozers to forklifts and cranes. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0620, 22 May 06)
24 May 06. Azure Dynamics Corporation has received another purchase order from Smith Electric Vehicles (“Smith”), part of The Tanfield Group Plc, for 20 electric powertrain systems. This order follows-on to the 2005 supply agreement between Azure and Smith Electric Vehicles, whereby Azure would deliver up to one thousand complete electric powertrains. Each Azure electric powertrain system includes the drive, a power steering system, a system controller, a 12VDC supply, and other key driver interface components. Since the supply agreement was signed in July 2005, Azure has already provided Smith with 10 powertrain systems and has collaborated on building demonstration vehicles. Through product demonstration programs initial customer orders are now being received.
May 2006. Estonia: Purchase of Sandown Class Minehunters. The Disposal Services Agency (DSA) has confirmed (DLO News, May 2006) that Estonia intends to buy three ex-Royal Navy Sandown Class Minehunters. A Letter of Intent (LoI) was signed in Tallin on 11 Apr 06, allowing negotiations to go ahead for a sales agreement to be signed in mid-2007. The LoI covers the sale of
HMS SANDOWN, INVERNESS and BRIDPORT. Comment: The three vessels were decommissioned in late 2004/early 2005, although BRIDPORT had been in a state of ‘extended readiness’ since March 2002. The Estonian budget for the purchases is said to be EKr800m (£35m). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0620, 22 May 06)
17 May 06. Eurofighter Typhoon: Armament. In Written Answers (8 & 17 May 06), the Armed Forces’ Minister said that the initial ground attack capability being planned for the RAF Typhoon was the Enhanced Paveway precision-guided bomb. Integration of subsequent weapons was being considered under the Typhoon Future Capability Programme, which included the Storm Shadow cruise missile and the Brimstone air-launched anti-armour weapon. Comment: Following the Kosovo Campaign (when only 40% of RAF bombs hit their targets) the stock of laser-guided 1,000lb Paveway II/2,000lb Paveway III was ‘enhanced’ with global positioning systems. Paveway IV (Item 7) evolved from Enhanced Paveway. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0620, 22 May 06)
16 May 06. C-17A Globemaster III Aircraft: Leasing Costs. In a Written Answer the Armed Forces’ Minister said: “Information relating to the cost of the lease [of four C-17] is classified as commercial-in-confidence between the MoD and the contractor and therefore cannot be released.” Comment: The Major Projects Report 2004, released on 10 Nov 04, stated that the lease of four C-17 from Boeing was for a period of seven years with the option of extending for up to a further two years. The forecast cost of the lease was given as £769m. The Defence Industrial Strategy (15 Dec 05) described C-17 plans in the following terms: “Four aircraft are on lease and we have plans to purchase these outright from Boeing at the end of their lease. We plan to purchase a fifth aircraft in the early part of the next decade.” However, the Defence Procurement Minister subsequently said (6 Mar 06): “We are looking at the possibility of purchasing a fifth C-17 aircraft, but we have not yet m