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By Julian Nettlefold

15 Jul 08. A new approach to purchasing the Armed Forces’ missiles took a step forward during Farnborough with the launch of an Assessment Phase with Team
Complex Weapons – an innovative partnering of industry and MoD – announced by Baroness Taylor. Team CW is a grouping led by MBDA (UK) Ltd, and includes Thales UK, Roxel (UK Rocket Motors) Ltd and QinetiQ Ltd. The MoD is also a member of Team CW.

This announcement follows the statement in Jul 06 where MoD signalled a new approach to fulfilling the UK’s military requirement for Complex Weapons in response to the Defence Industrial Strategy (DIS), published in Dec 05, which outlined the need to retain UK operational sovereignty. The Assessment Phase includes the two contracts with MBDA (UK) Ltd and Thales UK, and a linked and legally-binding Teaming Agreement, which has been signed by all of the Team CW members, and which will be used to refine and test the Team CW model.

MoD secured a Public Policy Exclusion Order (PPEO) from the UK Competition Act (in Aug 07), which enabled Team CW to share commercially sensitive information, and the MoD and Team CW signed a Non-Disclosure Agreement (NDA) in Sep 07 gave Team CW formal status and allowed detailed discussions to commence. This is possibly why Raytheon is not involved due to ITAR problems.

Alongside a Teaming Agreement with all of the Team Complex Weapons members, two contracts have been placed with MBDA (UK) Ltd and Thales UK to develop six Complex Weapons projects within the Assessment Phase, at a value of around £74m for the first year:
* Indirect Fire Precision Attack Loitering Munition (MBDA-led with
Team Loitering Munition).
* 100Kg weapon family to meet first the Future Air to Surface Guided
Weapon (heavyweight) requirement for Royal Navy helicopters (MBDA).
* Light weapon family to meet first the Future Air to Surface Guided
Weapon (lightweight) requirement (Thales UK).
* 50Kg weapon family to meet the Selected Precision Effects At Range
(SPEAR) requirement for fast jets and helicopters (MBDA).
* The Common Anti-Air Modular Missile family to meet first the
requirement for a Future Local Area Air Defence System (FLAADS) for
the T23 Frigate and the Future Surface Combatant (MBDA).
* An upgrade programme for Storm Shadow currently used on the Tornado

The Assessment Phase will allow the Team CW companies to assess the innovative concepts that they have been developing, and test how they work together, and with the MoD, to develop and produce the UK’s military requirements for the next generation of missiles and guided weapons for our Armed Forces.

This approach with Team CW, which also involves QinetiQ Ltd and Roxel (UK Rocket Motors) Ltd, marks a shift from individual bespoke contracts to one based on innovation, flexibility and evolution. It aims to result in fewer weapon types that are more adaptable and better able to meet the Armed Forces’ requirements in an increasingly changing world.

Minister for Defence Equipment and Support, Baroness Taylor said: “The launch of the Assessment Phase is a significant milestone in our work with Team Complex Weapons. We are embarking on an innovative approach to purchasing our next generation of missiles and guided weapons. Team CW will help to maintain the UK’s key skills and technologies in missile development and protect our operational sovereignty in this sector for the future.”

Steve Wadey, Team CW Industrial Chairman and Managing Director of MBDA UK, which leads the Team CW grouping, added: “The prospect of being able to better understand the MoD’s capability requirements through this partnering aids both industry and government immeasurably, particularly in terms of effective and efficient future investment and planning decisions. This Assessment Phase will initiate a radical transformation of the sector through the launch of these six new projects which are central to the

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