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Aug 04. HQ 3 Infantry Brigade and Signal Squadron was disbanded at Mahon Barracks, Portadown on 1 Sep 04, with responsibility for its area of operations passing to HQ 8 Infantry Brigade in Londonderry and HQ 39 Infantry Brigade in Belfast. The restructuring involves the loss of 200 military and 100 civilian posts. Comment: The change follows a 2003 reorganisation by the Police Service of Northern Ireland (PSNI) which saw the number of Policing Regions in the Province reduced from three to two. (Source: DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 04/34, 06 Sep 04)

02 Sep 04. GKN has renewed its interest in Boeing’s Wichita operations after the US aerospace and defence group accepted that the initial price it had been seeking for one of its largest manufacturing sites was too high. GKN signalled in May that it had withdrawn from the race to acquire the three businesses, put up for sale by Boeing earlier this year. But on Thursday GKN confirmed it was “considering its options” after Harry Stonecipher, Boeing chief executive, revealed that it was one of “three or four” suitors in the running. Initial indications from Goldman Sachs, which is acting for Boeing, were that Boeing was looking to raise between $2bn and $3bn from the Wichita sale. But that price is understood to have put off bidders. Industry sources now say that Boeing is unlikely to get more than $2bn and one analyst has estimated that the price could be as low as $900m. The three operations the main site in Wichita, Kansas, along with two smaller sites at Tulsa and McAlester in Oklahoma employ about 10,000 people and are thought to have annual sales of up to $3bn.Wichita manufactures three-quarters of the 737, the world’s best-selling commercial airliner. Vought Aircraft Industries, which is owned by Carlyle Group, is the other leading industrial contender, though the Washington-based private equity house may bid itself instead.

Aug 04. As at 1 Jul 04 the Regular Armed Forces were under-established by 6,900, or 3.6%. Details are at page 3. Comment: As announced on 21 Jul 04, the trained requirement for all three Services is being reduced (Note 1 on page 3). The RN/RM and the Army, including Gurkhas, are already almost ‘in balance’ against the proposed establishments. Ignoring FTRS, the RAF is some 7,820 (19.1%) over the projected requirement. (Source: DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 04/34, 06 Sep 04)

Sep 04. Fleet Support Ltd (FSL) is to reduce the workforce at Portsmouth by 250 from the end of November 2004. (Navy News, September 2004.) Babcock has announced 290 redundancies at Rosyth (Warship World, September/October 2004.) Comment: FSL (a 50/50 joint venture between BAE SYSTEMS and the VT Group) is reducing its workforce in response to the 21 Jul 04 announcement of the loss of seven Portsmouth-based ships. Babcock has also drawn attention to the forthcoming reduction in refit work and to the general lack of prospects until work starts on the first of the two new carriers (expected to be in 2007.) (Source: DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 04/34, 06 Sep 04)

Sep 04. Navy News reports that RFA Sir Percivale has been prepared for ‘extended readiness’ and is due to be put up for disposal towards the end of 2004. Comment: Sister-ship Sir Geraint paid off in 2003 while RFA Sir Tristram and Sir Galahad are due to decommission in the near future. The four elderly landing ships are to be replaced by the Bay Class, currently under construction by BAE SYSTEMS and Swan Hunter.

08 Sep 04. Ceradyne, Inc. is opening a new office in the Washington, D.C. area to support its lightweight ceramic armor business, with a strong focus on military ground-based vehicles. Marc King, long-time military officer and senior executive in military and defense-related equipment matters, will head this new office as vice president of armor operations.

2 Sep 04. The MoD announced that Lieutenant General Sir John Reith KCB CBE had ceased to be CJO to become Deputy SACEUR at NATO HQ, on promotion, in

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