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FRES TAKES SHAPE

6 DEC 02. The FRES requirement appears to be taking shape with some industry observers expressing disquiet over a ‘carve up’ between Alvis and BAE SYSTEMS. (See, FRES – ROUND ONE TO ALVIS? BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.4 ISSUE 43, October 24th 2002). Certainly Lockheed Martin and Raytheon have expressed disquiet that their investment into TRACER/FSCS is regarded as joint IP with BAE having access to the technology without their involvement. Lockheed Martin in particular has invested millions in the project and looks like it may lose out in FCS and FRS. QinetiQ is another company which has spent a good deal of study time on FRES, funded by the MoD.

General Dynamic’s UK Managing Director Larry Johnson told BATTELSPACE, “It is regrettable that GD (UK) is not involved, at this moment in time, as a full team member in FRES given that we are the Prime contractor for BOWMAN, the bearer system for the C4ISR systems on FRES. We will be fitting out the vehicles concerned with BOWMAN systems and that expertise, we believe, is vital to the success of FRES. Our plant in Wales is set to become a world leader in advanced C4ISTAR systems established through our BOWMAN contract.”

The Industry day planned for December 12th has been cancelled because Lord Bach is witnessing the MRAV roll-out and will take place in the New Year.

Alvis was quick to dispel worries today of a joint BAE/Alvis Management Company for FRES and it may be that industry worries are overdone. But certainly from BATTLESPACE perspective it would be sound procurement strategy to involve a FRES process which takes in the best-of-breed to avoid another Archer debacle?

Certainly the Industry Day in the New Year should clear the air and dispel any concerns.

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