19 Feb 07. Falkland Islands: Garrison Strength. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (19 Feb 07) that there were approximately 1,450 Armed Forces personnel serving in the Falkland Islands. The deployment was intended “to deter aggression and defend the right of the Falkland Islanders to self-determination”. Force levels were kept under continuous review. The cost of the Garrison in 2005/06 was £143m.
Comment: A jointly-funded Argentine/British contract was awarded in November 2006 for a survey of the Islands’ minefields. The main aims of the survey are to identity the options for anti-personnel mine clearance and the associated environmental impact. The survey is expected to be completed during 2007. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0709, 26 Feb 07)
20 Feb 07. HMS ASTUTE: Launch Date. BAE Systems disclosed (20 Feb 07) that First of Class HMS ASTUTE is to be launched on 8 Jun 07.
Comment: A Written Answer released on 19 Feb 07 stated that negotiations on prices for SSN Astute Class hulls 02 and 03 (HMS AMBUSH & ARTFUL) were “concluding and will be subject to formal approval by the MoD and BAE Systems”. The MoD’s ‘Defence News Daily’ for 30 Jan 07 mentioned an eventual Astute Class of eight boats. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0709, 26 Feb 07)
Feb 07. Surface Ship Torpedo Defence (SSTD): Final Delivery. The Defence Procurement Agency recorded (Preview, February 2007) delivery of the 16th and final SSTD by Ultra Electronics. SSTD, also known as Sonar 2170, provides passive torpedo detection and classification for RN/RFA ships of frigate size and above. The full system will be rotated between (about 50) platforms.
Comment: An announcement that Ultra Electronics had been awarded a £60m contract for 16 SSTD systems was made on 1 Aug 02, although the programme had been initiated in the mid-1980s (Project Talisman). Originally the UK was going to fit all surface ships (“about 80”) with SSTD but budgetary constraints dictated rotating the systems between vessels. The number of systems was reduced to 23 and, finally, to 16. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0709, 26 Feb 07)
20 Feb 07. C-17 Transport Aircraft: Numbers Confirmed. The Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed (20 Feb 07) that the MoD is to purchase the four C-17 aircraft leased from Boeing, at the end of the present contract in 2008. An order had been placed for a fifth C-17, which is expected to be delivered in 2008. Other than these five, the MoD currently had “no plans to order or lease additional C-17s”.
Comment: Although senior RAF Officers are on record as saying that they would like a total of eight C-17, the official position remains as described above (despite newspaper stories to the contrary). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0709, 26 Feb 07)
27 Feb 07. Upgraded attack submarine rejoins the fleet. The Navy’s potent attack submarine, HMS Talent, has rejoined the active fleet, following a £386m upgrade. Newly equipped with one of the most advanced sonar systems in the world and a fresh reactor core, the upgrade will ensure HMS Talent maintains her battle-winning edge and stays at the forefront of Britain’s underwater capability until beyond the next decade.
27 Feb 07. Intel Corp. plans to invest $1bn to $1.5bn to upgrade its chip factory in New Mexico, increasing a bet on a new manufacturing technology that could aid the company’s battle with Advanced Micro Devices Inc. The factory in Rio Rancho, N.M., is expected to become the fourth Intel plant that can create chips with circuitry measured at 45 nanometers, or billionths of a meter. Intel, whose most advanced chips now use 65-nanometer circuitry, has said it expects to beat competitors by delivering 45-nanometer chips in the second half of 2007. Shrinking transistors and other features on chips makes it possible to increase their performance and data-storage capacity while reducing production costs. The pace of improvement is sometimes called Moore’s Law, a