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12 Nov 04. RAF News reported that one operational Nimrod MR2 Squadron is to be disbanded on 1 Apr 05, following the reduction in the number of aircraft announced on 21 Jul 04. RAF Kinloss is the base for four
MR2 Squadrons: 42(R) which is the training or Operational Conversion Unit and three operational Squadrons – 120, 201 and 206. Two operational Squadrons, each with 10 crews, are to replace the present three, each of which has eight crews. The Air Force has yet to decide which Squadron will be disbanded. Comment: The number of MR2 aircraft is to be reduced to 16 by 1 Apr 05. Under current plans, the MR2 is due to be phased-out by 2012 and to be replaced by (possibly as few as 12) Nimrod MRA4. RAF Kinloss and RAF Waddington are being considered as the future base for the MRA4. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 04/43, 15 Nov 04)

16 Nov 04. Northrop Grumman Corporation has opened a new system integration laboratory (SIL) to help identify any potential hardware, software or system cost issues related to the development of its X-47B combat unmanned air vehicle long before the first air vehicle flies. The company-funded facility, which is located at Northrop Grumman’s Unmanned Systems unit in San Diego, opened October 15. It will support the company’s current work on a $1.04 billion contract with the Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) for the operational assessment phase of the Joint Unmanned Combat Air Systems (J-UCAS) Concept Demonstration program.

08 Nov 04. Radstone Technology will be establishing a new engineering center in North America. Located in Billerica, Massachusetts, the 3,000 sq. ft. facility will be home to a team of design and development engineers, as well as to front line customer service and support staff. Radstone Technology is the world’s leading independent supplier of high-performance, embedded computer products for defense and aerospace applications.

08 Nov 04. Saab has today notified the County Employment Board that it is to shed 50 employees at Saab Systems, Saab Support and SaabTech in the Stockholm area. Development engineers, management and administration personnel will be affected by the move. In addition to the 50 co-workers currently being given notice, up to a further 50 may also be laid off in the future. The background is a notification of staff cutbacks the company issued in March encompassing 70 personnel, although so far only 20 co-workers have left. In total, just under 100 personnel at Saab in Järfälla, Kista, Tyresö and Uppsala could be shed due to a lack of work. Industrial co-determination talks with the union organizations have begun. The intention is to carry out the lay-offs during the first quarter of 2005.

Nov 04. The Junior Defence Minister, Mr I K Caplin MP, has announced that he does not intend to contest the next General Election. Comment: Mr Caplin turned a Conservative majority of 12,300 in Hove into a Labour majority of 4,000 in 1997, retaining the seat in 2001 with a majority of 3,000. ‘Tribune’ (12 Nov 04) suggested that Mr Caplin’s strong support for the invasion of Iraq had cost him the support of local Labour Party members. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 04/43, 15 Nov 04)

15 Nov 04. Symbian, the mobile phone operating system jointly owned by several leading handset makers, on Monday appointed a former UK government official who led a programme to reform government IT procurement as its new chairman. Sir Peter Gershon, previously chief executive of the UK’s Office of Government Commerce, has wide-ranging experience in IT and telecommunications, having worked as managing director of GEC-Marconi from 1994 to 1999 and from 1999 to 2000 as chief operating officer of BAE Systems, the UK defence contractor. Analysts said Sir Peter’s key challenge would be to juggle the demands of Symbian’s owners, which include handset makers Nokia, Samsung and Sony Ericsson. But some also said he would need to res

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