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28 May 08. GKN Aerospace has established a joint venture company with
Rolls-Royce to carry out research and development into the use of composite materials in aero engine fan blades. As part of its continuous drive to bring innovative products to market, Rolls-Royce is researching key technologies and alternative materials to further enhance the efficiency and environmental performance of its products. Funding for the research and development is expected to be approximately £11m. Rolls-Royce will fund and own 51 per cent of the venture, with GKN Aerospace responsible for 49 per cent. The joint venture activities will build upon the development of composite blade applications undertaken during the EU-funded VITAL programme, and will combine the expertise of Rolls-Royce advanced engine technologies with GKN Aerospace’s composite research and automated manufacturing technologies.

02 Jun 08. Plextek, the Cambridge-based electronics and communications design consultancy, is partnering with Bath-based picoChip to work on innovative wireless solutions for military communications. These smaller, cheaper and more flexible standards-based communications solutions will offer clear benefits to field deployed military personnel tasked with setting up a secure communications infrastructure. Plextek’s proven expertise is in developing cost effective defence solutions based on commercial off the shelf (COTS) technologies. picoChip’s flexible picoArray architecture can support all major air-interfaces, and was explicitly designed for Software Defined Radio (SDR) applications. As such, it is well suited to military requirements such as Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS). Together Plextek and picoChip are able to achieve significant benefits supporting the delivery of Network Enabled Capability (NEC).

28 May 08. EADS Defence & Security and Nexter Systems have signed an agreement covering the creation of a joint venture to act as the “system of systems” prime contractor for Operation Scorpion, which aims to satisfy the transformation needs of the French Army. The comprehensive Scorpion is an operation designed to bring together the different major equipment modernisation and coherence programmes for French land forces for contact over the period 2008-2025, while also ensuring enhancement of the operational capabilities of future land combat systems. Scorpion will make it possible to respond to the most probable future combat scenarios for the Armed Forces and will cover a broad spectrum of operational situations in a joint-forces and multinational context. This move to improve capabilities requires a global approach to equipment, combat platforms, weapon systems and transverse systems. That is why the creation of a joint venture between EADS Defence & Security, via its Business Unit Defence and Communications Systems, and Nexter Systems brings together within an independent structure the competencies of the two groups in the architecture and integration of land combat systems for joint-forces operations. The goal of the resulting integrated team will be to design and implement global solutions for land forces and provide support throughout the different stages of the transformation process. In this structure, the solutions will be adapted to Contact Forces for nationwide and multi-national deployments ensuring interoperability with Forces of others nations, particularly with US Forces. This structure will also be well placed to form partnerships both nationally and internationally in order to bring together for the benefit of Operation Scorpion both the competencies and contributions of the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base (EDTIB) and also the feedback from initiatives launched by our main NATO partners.

29 May 08. A Joint Working Agreement has been signed between AERO Vodochody (Aero), Gripen International and Saab Czech to establish a mutual cooperation concerning marketing and manufacturing of

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