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25 Jun 03. Team Athena, a consortium of British and U.S. aerospace and defence companies and an EADS/MBDA team have been awarded two £25m Assessment Phase contracts for the United Kingdom’s Ground Based Air Defence (GBAD) programme. The Assessment Phase will run approximately 24 months and is expected to begin later this year.

GBAD, an Air Defence Command, Control Communications Computers and Intelligence (ADC4I) programme, is a core element of the UK’s plan to neutralise and defeat air threats to its forces and coalition forces in 21st Century combat operations.

Team Athena comprises Lockheed Martin, Electronic Data Systems (EDS), INSYS Limited, Systems Consultants Services Ltd (SCS), Westland Helicopters Ltd (WHL), an AgustaWestland Company, Advanced System Architects Ltd (ASA) and AMS along with the GBAD Weapon System Design Authorities, MBDA and Thales. The team has been specifically assembled to harness the most complementary talents from the UK and USA into one team headquartered in the UK.

The teams will demonstrate a new Air Defence Command and Control System integrated with the MBDA Rapier Field Standard C air defence missile system and the Starstreak High Velocity Missile (HVM) which are both currently in service with the UK armed forces. The ADC4I (Air Defence Command, Control, Communications, Computing, Intelligence) solution, Caracal, is based on EADS products already in service with the German Armed Forces offering a low risk military off-the-shelf solution for the UK.

The Prime Contract, which will be finalised over the coming weeks, is for the Assessment Phase of the GBAD Phase 1 programme, under which the UK’s air defence assets will be integrated with an advanced command and control system to protect UK forces against new airborne threats ranging from cruise missiles to UAVs. At the culmination of the two-year Assessment Phase EADS and MBDA will be required to submit a proposal for Demonstration and Manufacture. The total GBAD Phase 1 budget has been announced by the MOD as £1 billion. Under a second phase (Phase 2), the missile systems will be systematically updated or replaced. In January 2003, Caracal proved its ability to rapidly track aerial targets under a successful demonstration to the UK Ministry of Defence.

Tom Enders, President of EADS Defence & Civil Systems and designated head of the newly-formed Defence & Security division, said: “We are delighted that Caracal has been selected under GBAD Phase 1. EADS’ and MBDA’s engineering teams have worked together effectively to demonstrate a compliant and cost-effective solution to the UK’s Defence Procurement Agency which guarantees full interoperability with the US, NATO and other Allied forces. Our skilled teams in Britain and Germany have joined forces to deliver a best value solution to the UK which draws on our capabilities across the EADS group. The project will benefit from the Surface-to-Air Missile Operation Center SAMOC developed by EADS for the German Air Force and from the opening of a programme office in Filton near Bristol.

Marwan Lahoud, MBDA’s Chief Executive Officer, said: “MBDA’s systems integration team will be providing the key expertise to integrate the UK missile systems Rapier and Starstreak with Caracal for the UK Armed Forces and we look forward to transferring EADS’ C4I technical expertise to the UK thus enhancing the UK industrial base”.

The EADS/MBDA GBAD Phase 1 solution, CARACAL, is based on SAMOC (Surface to Air Missile Operations Centre for the command and control of PATRIOT, HAWK, STINGER and GEPARD, in mixed and multi-national SAM clusters) and AAD (Army Air Defence (HFlaAF?Sys) specifically designed to control self-propelled ROLAND and GEPARD within the forward combat zone), both developed by EADS for the German Air Force and Army for the command and control of short, medium and long-range air defence systems in compliance with NA

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