05 Jan 12. Nexter Munitions: Inauguration of a robotised machining facility by the Minister for Defence. The announced cuts in defence budgets in Europe and the increased competition in our key weapons markets have spurred Nexter Munitions to develop a proactive export strategy. The company plans to double its export market share within the next five years. This represents 20% of its sales in 2011 and 45% of the current order book. Multi-year orders provide a favourable framework for ensuring the bedrock of activity and long-term view we need to engage in ambitious projects. The project for investment in a robotised facility for machining and belting of ammunition rounds for the CAESAR artillery system, Nexter Systems’ flagship export product, was launched within this framework in September 2010. This facility, which incorporates the latest technological innovations, will allow Nexter Munitions to increase its competitiveness, reactiveness and independence. It will improve Nexter Munitions’ market position in manufacturing flare and smoke ordnance in the 155 mm artillery round range, ordered by the French Army under a multi-year contract. It will allow our productions to be relocated while maintaining domestic jobs. It should be noted that this project was awarded to local or regional companies:
– The Socopresses company employing 20 people and based in Yèvre sur Mehun was responsible for the engineering side.
– The Cirméca company based in Menetou Salon, the Escofier company in Chalon sur Saône, the Arcom company in Thénioux and the Axiléa company in La Chapelle Saint Ursin produced all the equipment.
03 Jan 12. The Taliban has agreed to open a “political office” in Qatar to hold talks with the United States, the first time the militant group has confirmed it has an interest in negotiating with Washington. The Taliban said in a statement that it and the United States are the “two main sides,” who have a vested interest in finding a solution to the Afghanistan’s problems. The statement made no mention of the Afghan government and did not say whether it wanted Kabul to play a role in talks. (Source: Google)
09 Jan 12. Hindustan Aeronautics Limited (HAL), a Navaratna defence PSU and a top-ranked global defence aerospace company, which is looking for a location to house a production facility for its Advanced Utility Helicopter (AUH) project, could get land in Bidar for the project. Bidar Lok Sabha member and former chief minister N Dharam Singh told Express
that Union Defence Minister A K Antony had shown keen interest in establishing the unit at Bidar, where the Indian Air Force also has its base. “Let us secure land for the proposed AUH programme and the Defence Ministry will give a green signal to HAL to locate its production facility in Bidar,” Singh said. He also said Karnataka Chief Minister D V Sadananda Gowda, with whom he had taken up the matter on Saturday, readily agreed to release land for the project. (Source: Google)
06 Jan 12. HMS PROTECTOR: Welcome in Uruguay. The MoD noted (6 Jan 12) that HMS PROTECTOR has made a routine port visit to Montevideo on her way from the UK to the Antarctic. The 5,000 tonne ice breaker is on an eight month deployment surveying and patrolling Antarctica. The ship’s visit to Montevideo was to allow a crew change and to collect stores. The Vice President of the Uruguayan Ports Authority confirmed that the ice patrol ship had full permission to visit Montevideo since she was not flying the Falkland Islands/Malvinas flag.
Comment: The MoD was responding to media reports that HMS PROTECTOR’s routine visit to Montevideo had “raised tensions”. On 20 Dec 11 the Mercosur member countries (Argentina, Brazil, Paraguay & Uruguay) agreed to close their ports to ships flying the Falkland Islands/Malvinas flag. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 12/02, 09 Jan 12)
07 Jan 12. HMS DARING: Initial Deployment. An MoD spokeswoman confirmed (7