UNITED KINGDOM AND NATO
25 May 22. British Embassy Kuwait invites proposal submissions for the Gulf Strategy Fund 2022 to 2025. British Embassy Kuwait is inviting project bids for funding as part of its programme for the next 3 years.
The Kuwait Programme supports implementation of UK priorities for Kuwait. It supports Kuwait’s ambitious ‘New Kuwait’ Vision 2035 agenda for transforming Kuwait into a trade centre, with a resilient and diverse economy led by the private sector under the umbrella of government institutions, which accentuates social values and identity and supports human resource development.
This call for bids runs in parallel with the FCDO Kuwait Country Business Plan development process, and projects will be expected to align with its strategic direction.
Gulf Strategy Fund projects are not intended to support isolated activities, such as a single visit or training course. Projects must make a clear contribution to strategic objectives and have a clear outcome, such as unlocking wider progress and moving the UK-Kuwait partnership forward in a substantive way. All projects must demonstrate value for money. FCDO defines ‘value-for-money’ as ‘making the best possible use of our all resources to maximise our impact’. In programme work, maximising impact includes having a robust, evidence-based theory of change demonstrating the causal pathway between the intervention and outcomes that support FCDO strategic priorities.
Bids may build on previous projects carried out in Kuwait or the wider region. The Embassy has also identified areas it wishes to prioritise:
- cyber security
- media freedom
- equality and inclusion
- scientific collaboration
- one health
- anti-corruption and ethics
- youth political participation
- climate change and biodiversity
- economic diversification
However, we also invite bids in other thematic areas. These will be assessed against the same criteria as all other bids.
We also draw your attention to the FCDO MENAD Gender Charter pledge released in September 2021, which calls to ensure gender equality and inclusion is mainstreamed in any programme design, delivery and across all projects.
The Embassy recognises the challenges of working in a rapidly changing environment, reliant on the schedules and priorities of external actors. This particularly impacts the scheduling of activities and becomes difficult when planning a multi-year programme. We therefore embrace flexible and adaptive approaches as a key component of project effectiveness and value for money.
FCDO has made a commitment to GSF for the three-year period (2022-2025), in line with the FCDO funding settlement.
This allows us to think strategically and plan multi-year projects that can have a much greater impact. We therefore encourage bids that demonstrate a long-term, strategic vision and envisage phased implementation and measurable impact.
Recognising the short timeframe and to accommodate projects in different stages of development, projects should not be scheduled to start before 1 August 2022.
However, we expect that there will be no facility to carry funds forward from one financial year to the next. We will commit to multi-year projects, but funding commitments will be made on a year-by-year basis, with budget for subsequent years considered indicative. Funding commitment for subsequent years will be reviewed on submission of new Activity-Based Budgets for each subsequent year of implementation. This process provides an opportunity for Partners to review and adjust their projects and the timing of activities and response to changing circumstances.
Funding level and project range
FCDO is yet to confirm allocations of programme funding for individual countries over this period, but we are working to an indicative budget of £1.5m per year for three years.
To improve efficiency our preference is for small projects to be in the range of £20,000 – £50,000 per year and larger projects will be from £50,000 to £250,000. All projects can be considered, but we advise consolidating project work into similar thematic area, we also recommend flexible project planning that could adjust activity based on available funding.
In awarding and overseeing programme funds, the British Embassy in Kuwait is obliged to comply with all Cabinet Office and FCDO rules and guidance, including but not limited to those set out in the FCDO Programme Operating Framework (PrOF). Partners should especially take note of the following requirements:
- all projects must have a single lead implementer, which holds full accountability for the full project budget and outcome. A lead Implementer may in some cases sub-contract project activity to a third party
- the FCDO can only pay for costs that are incurred after signature by both parties and between the start and end date stated in a funding arrangement or contract
- all project payments are issued in arrears to activities. The British Embassy will not consider requests for advance payments from implementers
- all projects must align with the Paris Agreement and assess climate and environmental impact and risks, taking steps to ensure that no environmental harm is done
- all projects must consider and demonstrate how their interventions will impact gender equality, disability inclusion and those with protected characteristics
- any projects involving paid-for communications activity must receive clearance from the Professional Communications Assurance (PCA) team prior to signing agreements
- any project working on Human Rights, laws, policies, practises or capabilities of justice or security institution will be reviewed under the UK Overseas Security and Justice Assessment (OSJA) guidance prior to signing agreements
- all approved projects will be expected to comply with FCDO mandated reporting requirements using templates provided, including:
- monthly project updates and ABB forecasts
- quarterly monitoring reports
- project closure report
All submitted bids will be reviewed by the Embassy and assessed against set criteria.
The Embassy will expedite the approval process to the extent possible, but cannot approve projects until formal funding allocation is confirmed.
Approved projects will then begin the mobilisation process before beginning implementation, including:
- securing any required approvals (e.g. PCA, OSJAs, Due Diligence etc.)
- any competitive process (if required to select commercial implementers)
- preparation and signing of agreements
An approved bid submission will consist of:
- a completed Implementer’s project proposal form (ODT, 66.2 KB) (PPF)
- a planned out Activity Based Budget template (ODS, 19.3 KB) (ABB)
Please return completed pairs of documents to along with a confirmation of the type of contract that would be required (Grant Agreement or Memorandum of Understanding).
The British Embassy Kuwait Call for Bids will be open from 29 May to 23 June 2022.
The PPF template is identical to programming template except for sections that have been adapted for multi-year projects.
The ABB template has been adapted to accommodate projects for up to three years duration. For the first year, implementers need to calculate budget on a monthly basis. Subsequent years are budgeted on a quarterly basis initially, and will be refined and re-approved in advance of each financial year.
The Grant Agreements and Memorandums of Understanding are standard FCDO contracts and the Embassy will not enter into negotiation around contracts beyond the very limited areas where it may use pre-approved alterations.
Copies of contract templates are available on request to .
The Embassy is not able to write bids on an implementer’s behalf, but the Programme team is available to provide support in developing a proposal or policy alignment. The team will also be running group workshops during the Call for Bids period on FCDO programming and processes, to register your interest in these sessions and any other questions relating to projects please contact the embassy programme team through .
Contact: British Embassy Kuwait Programme Team at (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
20 May 22. UK, Denmark agree to collaborate on Type 31 frigate introduction to service. The British and Danish navies have signed a co-operative agreement to work together to bring the UK Royal Navy’s (RN) Type 31 Inspiration-class frigates into service. The RN has ordered five Type 31 frigates under a GBP1.25 bn (USD1.58 bn) contract awarded to UK shipbuilder Babcock in November 2019. The Type 31 is based on the Arrowhead 140 design, which is an evolution of the Iver Huitfeldt-class platform already in service with the Royal Danish Navy (RDN).
The RDN has more than a decade of experience operating its three Iver Huitfeldt-class frigates, which were built by Danish shipyard Odense Steel Shipyard and delivered between 2012–14. Under the Type 31 implementing Agreement, which was signed by the two countries’ navies at the recent Chiefs of European Navies Seminar in Romania, the RDN will make the lessons learned from the ship class available to the RN. (Source: Janes)
24 May 22. UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce membership confirmed. UK wide Taskforce will develop a strategy to boost skills and jobs in the shipbuilding industry. Members of the UK’s first Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce (UKSST) have been announced today (24 May). The Taskforce will be Chaired by Captain Dr Paul Little, Principal & Chief Executive of City of Glasgow College. An academic leader with a successful part-time Maritime career that included deployment with the US Coastguard, Paul successfully transformed five UK tertiary institutions, and has a strong international reputation. Paul brings dynamic leadership to the Taskforce and over 40 years naval insight as a veteran Coastguard Officer, Younger Brother of Trinity House, Fellow of the Nautical Institute, Member of the UK’s Merchant Navy Board and Member of both the Merchant Navy and the Royal Navy Associations. He is also a proud Honorary Royal Navy Captain.
He will be joined by 20 members from across the UK, providing coverage from industry including SMEs and larger organisations, training providers and trade representative bodies.
The Taskforce was announced in March 2022, as part of the cross-government National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS), to develop a world-leading skills strategy that will boosts training and job opportunities in the shipbuilding industry particularly those related to new and emerging technologies and zero-emissions shipping.
Minister for Skills Alex Burghart said:
Making sure we can deliver more opportunities for people to train or upskill will be essential to providing the UK shipbuilding industry with the talent pipeline it needs to thrive and get more people into jobs.
I’m delighted announce the appointment of Captain Dr Paul Little as the Chair of the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce. I know he and all the other members will bring the experience, passion and understanding needed to make this Taskforce a success. I look forward to hearing about their work as the strategy develops.
Captain Dr Paul Little said: “I am honoured and delighted to be appointed as Chair of the UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce, as it will allow me to combine my lifelong passions for Skills and Maritime. Some of the very best and most famous ships throughout history were built in yards across the UK, by a talented workforce of naval architects, master technicians and skilled apprentices. I am therefore keen to get started with the first meeting of our highly experienced Taskforce to examine the existing and future shipbuilding skills supply chain and to identify any additional upskilling and reskilling requirements. I look forward to working very closely with the National Shipbuilding Office, Civil & Military stakeholders, Colleges and Schools to deliver a renaissance in UK Shipbuilding.”
The 20 members of the Taskforce are:
- Linton Roberts, Chief Technology Officer, Cammell Laird Ship repairers and Shipbuilders Ltd and A&P Group Ltd.
- Adrian Bevin, Head of Curriculum, Technology, South Devon College
- Commodore Andrew Martin Cree, Deputy Director Future Training, Royal Navy
- Edward James Corbett, Project Engineer, representing Irish Congress of Trade Unions (ICTU)
- Elizabeth O’Connor, Human Resources and Legal Director, MJM Marine Ltd
- Hannah Prowse, CEO, Portsmouth Naval Base Property Trust
- Keith Longman, Yard Manager, Berthon Boat Company Ltd.
- Kerrie Forster, CEO, Workboat Association
- Mark Whitehead, Snr Client and Commercial Manager, Bibby Marine
- Matt Bolton, Executive Officer, UKNEST
- Matthew Guy, Human Resources Director, Thales UK
- Nick Mansell, Chief Executive Officer, Intermarine UK
- Patrick Carnie, Strategy Director, Marine and Engineering Systems, Babcock International Group
- Paul Feely, Academy and Engineering Director, BAE Systems Naval
- Paul Turner, HR Director, Princess Yachts Ltd
- Rachel Kitley, Principal, Cowes Enterprise College, Ormiston Academies Trust (OAT)
- Richard Westgarth, Industry Engagement, BMT MarRI-UK, as well as Adjunct Professor at the Southampton Marine and Maritime Institute.
- Sarah Dhanda, Head of Policy and Partnerships, Enginuity
- Tahsin Tezdogan, University Reader in Naval Architecture, University of Strathclyde
The first meeting of the Taskforce is expected to take place in June, and members will soon begin working with the wider industry to explore skills needs and shortages.
Rear Admiral, Rex Cox, Chief Executive of the National Shipbuilding Office, said:
I am delighted that Paul Little has been appointed as Chair of the new UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce. As Principal and Chief Executive of the City of Glasgow College and with a rich maritime background, Paul is the ideal fit for the role. I am confident that Paul’s appointment together with Taskforce membership drawn from right across the UK, and reflecting the true breadth of our Shipbuilding Enterprise, will bring real focus to skills and training.
The Taskforce will be critical in over-seeing our efforts to ensure that our industry is able to access workers with the right training and skills which is fundamental to our ambition to drive growth and transformation to achieve a globally successful, innovative and sustainable Shipbuilding Enterprise for the UK.
The mailing list remains open for anybody who would like to receive email updates or be part of our consultation group to help to shape the work of the Taskforce.
- The National Shipbuilding Strategy (NSbS) refresh builds on the commitments of the previous strategy and reaffirms the need for the shipbuilding industry to work together to understand and articulate their future skills needs.
- UK Shipbuilding Skills Taskforce (UKSST) will form a partnership between government, industry, training providers and trade representative bodies.
- The Taskforce will support the development and implementation of a future-focused skills strategy for shipbuilding. Working closely with the Ministry of Defence (MoD), the Department for Business, Energy & Industrial Strategy (BEIS) and the Department for Transport (DfT), it will build a picture of the industry’s skills needs and provide solutions to skills shortages, particularly those related to new and emerging technologies. By catalysing and leveraging the skills system, the Taskforce will:
- ensure providers are empowered to meet the industry’s requirements
- work with industry colleagues to promote varied and exciting career opportunities in the shipbuilding sector
- draw on the best practice internationally and from other sectors
- optimise the available skills funding and opportunities for shipbuilding (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
26 May 22. Quick-fielding contracting model touted for US Navy Task Force 59 unmanned systems in the Middle East. The contracting model employed by US Navy (USN) Task Force 59 (TF 59) makes it possible to field, test, and evaluate unmanned systems quickly in the Middle East, according to Michael Stewart, USN Unmanned Task Force lead.
“Task Force 59 is using a fee-for-service contracting model,” Stewart said on 25 May during a media roundtable update on unmanned systems’ work. “They can get stuff out there really quick. They see it, lease it, get it into the theatre and test it.”
Established by the US 5th Fleet in September 2021, TF 59 works closely with members of industry and academia as well as other experts to provide operator feedback and help drive the innovation process forward for unmanned systems.
TF 59 is testing the limits of commercial technology, Stewart noted. “They are trying to get to the leading edge of commercial [technology] and see what the gaps are.”
In particular, he cited the task force’s work with Martac unmanned surface vessels (USVs) and Saildrone unmanned platforms. (Source: Janes)
23 May 22. DARPA seeks predictive battlefield network capability.
The Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) has begun prototype development of a new system to automate data flow and dissemination of combat information across myriad service-centric networks, regardless of domain. The goal of the Mission-Integrated Network Control (MINC) programme is to move US armed forces away from static or manually controlled battlefield data networks into ones that are managed according to the needs of a given mission or operation, according to DARPA documents released in 2021. BAE Systems and CACI International were two of the three industry partners that were awarded prototype development contracts for MINC. Programme development will take place in three stages: development of a ‘minimum viable product’ (MVP), laboratory and virtual experiments on MVP viability, and live field evaluations of the MVP in a simulated combat environment. (Source: Janes)
REST OF THE WORLD
27 May 22. Brazil prepares international competition for armed recon vehicle. The Brazilian Army has written up requirements for its next eight-wheel drive armored reconnaissance vehicle, following approval for the service to buy up to 221 of the platforms — each armed with either a 105mm or 120mm gun — according to sources and an Army document seen by Defense News.
The VBC Cav-MSR procurement effort replaces another program known as VBR-MR.
The Army’s General Staff is now awaiting approval to publish the rules and schedule for industry bids. Companies that have already expressed interest include Italy’s Iveco-Oto Melara Consortium, which is offering the Centauro II; General Dynamics European Land Systems, with the eight-wheel drive LAV 700; and China North Industries Group Corporation Limited (otherwise known as NORINCO), with its ST1.
The program is meant to replace part of the Army’s fleet of EE-9 Cascavel six-wheel drive armored reconnaissance vehicles, which are armed with 90mm guns. It’s unclear how much money the government authorized for the effort.
Sources with knowledge of Brazil’s vehicle procurement efforts spoke to Defense News about the Army’s progress thus far, speaking on the condition of anonymity because they were not authorized to talk to the press.
An official Army bulletin dated May 20 stated that the ordinance EME/C Ex No. 716, signed on May 9 by the service’s chief of staff, Gen. Valério Stumpf, is now in force and defines the operational requirements for the new armored vehicle.
Under plans made in the last decade, the EE-9s were to be replaced by a heavier eight-wheel drive version of Iveco Brasil’s six-wheel drive Guarani, also known as VBR-MR (or Viatura Blindada de Reconhecimento—Média Sobre Rodas in Portuguese, and loosely translated to English as Armored Reconnaissance Vehicle on Wheels).
Development for the VBR-MR began in 2014, with production samples to be delivered for testing at the start of 2020. But financial problems slowed down the program, and amid a lack of resources, the development process and ability to fit a locally made tower with a 105mm gun on the wheeled vehicle became impossible. The program was ultimately suspended in 2017.
Even after considering a 90mm gun as the VBR-MR’s main weapon, the Army decided in 2019 to keep its original 105mm requirement, without ruling out 120mm as an option, and to seek a foreign solution, which would be selected through an international competition.
What will happen to the EE-9?
The armored reconnaissance vehicle Brazil eventually selects is to replace half of the approximately 400-strong EE-9 fleet in service with the Army. Brazil has acquired about 600 Cascavels from the 1970s through the 1980s.
Meanwhile, up to 201 of the EE-9s that remain in service will undergo refurbishment and modernization by Força Terrestre, a consortium led by local firm Akaer and also made up of Universal Engenharia and Opto Space and Defense. In early May, the group was awarded a $14.5 million contract to produce two prototypes of the upgraded EE-9, with assurances Brazil would hire it to modernize at least 98 of the vehicles.
The upgrade package for the EE-9s includes a new, indigenous turret to be developed by Akaer to replace the original one, keeping the 90mm gun but adding Spike anti-tank missiles from Israeli firm Rafael Advanced Defense Systems as well as fitting on new sensors and optronic systems for targeting. The vehicles will also get more powerful and fuel-efficient engines as part of a completely new locomotive system.
More than 1,000 EE-9s have been exported around the world, with several hundred still in service. (Source: Defense News)
24 May 22. Naval Group confirms withdrawal from Indian submarine project. Naval Group has withdrawn its bid from the Indian Navy’s long-deferred Project 75(I) programme to acquire six diesel-electric attack submarines, the company has confirmed. The French shipbuilder told Janes on 23 May that it is unable to compete for the INR400 bn (USD5.15 bn) programme because of conditions contained in the project’s request for proposals (RFP) document. The Indian Ministry of Defence (MoD) issued the Project 75(I) RFP in July 2021 and called on two Indian firms – state-owned Mazagon Dock Shipbuilders Limited (MDL) and private-sector Larsen & Toubro (L&T) – to act as ‘strategic partners’ and build the submarines in collaboration with a foreign submarine manufacturer. (Source: Janes)
24 May 22. Indonesia omits major procurement programmes from 2022 ‘Green Book.’ The Indonesian Ministry of National Development Planning has omitted major defence procurement programmes from the register of priority projects approved for foreign funding in 2022.
This register is commonly referred to in-country as the ‘Green Book’. Programmes included in this register will be escalated to the Indonesian Ministry of Finance, which will then decide on the final amount of foreign loans that can be obtained for fiscal year (FY) 2022.
Documents forwarded to Janes on 24 May by a government source indicate that among programmes that have been included in the ‘Green Book’ are mid-life upgrades for the Indonesian Navy’s Diponegoro-class corvettes and Bung Tomo-class frigates. In terms of hull age, these vessels have either exceeded or are approaching their 20-year mark. (Source: Janes)
24 May 22. Brazil to further reduce Embraer KC-390 order to 15 aircraft.
The initial order included a total of 28 Embraer KC-390 aircraft for the Brazilian Air Force. The Brazilian Air Force has reportedly decided to decrease its Embraer KC-390 military transport aircraft order from 22 to 15 units. The move was reported by Reuters quoting a local newspaper O Globo. In accordance with the report, Brazilian Air Force’s lieutenant-brigadier general Carlos de Almeida Baptista Junior said that the Air Force is planning to further reduce the order due to budget unpredictability.
He was quoted as saying: “We cannot afford it in the short term.”
The original order, signed in 2014, included a total of 28 KC-390 military transport aircraft. The first aircraft was handed over to the Brazilian Air Force in September 2019.
However, Embraer reached an agreement with the Brazilian Air Force in February 2022 to reduce the order to 22 aircraft.
At the time of the announcement, Embraer said that the order reduction would not impact its 2021 guidance. But the company did not comment on its 2022 guidance.
Following the latest news report, Embraer told the news agency that the company has a contract with the Brazilian Air Force to supply 22 aircraft.
Meanwhile, the air force did not immediately revert to a request for comment, the report added.
Based in Brazil, aerospace company Embraer developed the KC-390 as a medium-weight, multi-mission tactical aircraft.
The aircraft can be used for a variety of missions, including humanitarian support, medical evacuation (MEDEVAC), search and rescue, and aerial refuelling. It can also be used to transport cargo and troops and perform paratroopers operations. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
06 May 22. Australia clarifies SEA 129 Phase 5 call. The department has shed light on its decision to fast-track the maritime UAS program via a partnership with Raytheon Australia and Schiebel Pacific.
Defence has confirmed its selection of the Schiebel Pacific S-100 Camcopter as the preferred platform for Block One of the SEA 129 Phase 5 Maritime Unmanned Aircraft System project.
The program aims to deliver a UAS platform designed to perform intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance (ISR) missions from the RAN’s Anzac Class frigates and Arafura Class offshore patrol vessels (OPVs).
Raytheon Australia will serve as the prime systems integrator, with the company previously committing to set up an Asia-Pacific manufacturing and sustainment hub for S-100 UAS in the Shoalhaven region of NSW.
The company is now expected to work with Defence via a request for tender (RFT) procurement process before presenting to government for a Second Pass decision later this year.
As such, Defence has stressed it is yet to determine the size of a prospective S-100 Camcopter fleet and the value of a future contract, despite reports claiming 40 drones were ordered for a combined cost of $1.3 bn.
In a statement to Defence Connect, the department revealed as a result of its decision, the SEA 129 Phase 5 project could achieve initial operating capability (IOC) 18 months ahead of schedule.
“Accelerating Australia’s acquisition of remote and autonomous systems is critical to protecting Australia and its interests,” the spokesperson said.
Defence has also addressed concerns regarding the Camcopter’s use by hostile nations, including China and Russia, with the platform operated by over 16 maritime organisations on 17 classes of ships around the world.
“Defence conducted due diligence background checks and is aware of the number of systems in use internationally,” the spokesperson added.
The prospective Royal Australian Navy drones are set to be modified with “significantly different” mission sensors ahead of delivery.
“Defence has robust processes to ensure any platform introduced into service does not create vulnerabilities,” the spokesperson stated.
“In the case of the S-100, working with Raytheon Australia as the prime system integrator, all relevant systems will be scrutinised and approved to ensure the appropriate level of protection is in place.”
Schiebel has not conducted defence business with China since early 2015, and last supplied UAVs to a Russian commercial entity in 2015 for civilian use. Intellectual property rights or data were not shared with the Russian customer.
The unmanned aerial system (UAS) has been on trial with the RAN since 2016 after it was selected following a request for tender (RFT) for Navy Minor Project (NMP) 1942, which sought to procure a “proven” VTOL Maritime Tactical Unmanned Aircraft System – Interim Capability (MTUAS-IC) and associated engineering and logistics support for the Navy.
Last year, Schiebel Group secured a three-year contract extension to sustain the interim test platforms, which includes field support services, engineering and logistics elements, and the establishment of a sovereign Australian Camcopter S-100 training capability, delivered by Schiebel Pacific.
The Camcopter S-100 is billed as a small-medium sized vertical take-off and landing (VTOL) aircraft made of titanium and carbon fibre materials.
The platform is designed to carry multiple payloads simultaneously for up to six hours at a time.
The Camcopter S-100 can reportedly operate day and night, under adverse weather conditions, with a range out to 200 kilometres, both on land and at sea.
The unmanned aircraft can navigate automatically via pre-programmed GPS waypoints or can be operated directly with a pilot control unit.
The platform is operated via a point-and-click graphical user interface, transmitting high-definition payload imagery to the control station in real time.
By leveraging “fly-by-wire” technology controlled by redundant flight computers, the UAS can complete its mission automatically. (Source: Defence Connect)
20 May 22. USAF team to assess Thailand’s ability to operate F-35s. The United States will assess Thailand’s capability to operate fifth-generation Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter. The planned visitation suggests that the country has moved closer to potentially acquiring the stealth fighters.
Speaking to Janes, a Royal Thai Air Force (RTAF) spokesperson said, “We have been informed that the US Air Force (USAF) is now under the process of setting up a team to travel to Thailand for [assessment], as well as providing advice for the right practices to prepare the receiving and use of the fifth-generation fighter.”
“However, we still don’t know the exact schedule of when to travel, as this will be decided by the US Air Force,” he added.
The US Department of State declined to comment on the specifics of the USAF visitation and “potential procurements” of a “longtime treaty ally and security partner”.
The USAF team will likely assess the RTAF’s capabilities and infrastructure to determine if the Southeast Asian country can support F-35 operations. (Source: Janes)
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