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08 Jan 15. France Tests Market for Supply of Special Forces Vehicles. French procurement officials have launched a test of industry interest in replacing light vehicles and supplying a truck for special operations forces, an industry executive said. Just before Christmas, the Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) sent out forms that companies can fill in and return if they are interested in pitching a product, the executive said. The consultation with industry referred to between 150 and 250 light vehicles and the same number for trucks to equip the élite forces. This is effectively a “call for” potential bidders, which precedes a request for information and request for proposal, with the latter launching a tender. The DGA neither confirmed nor denied the consultation, a spokesman said. It was not clear whether the requirement would be for a vehicle fully equipped with communications and command, navigation and logistical support, or for a bare vehicle that would be fitted for, but not with, the equipment. This consultation looked like a testing of the market to see what is available and to evaluate the competition, the executive said. The special forces operate a fleet of P4 SAS vehicles and 51 Panhard VPS (véhicule protégé SAS), both of which are heavily worn due to intense use. French troops fighting in the Mali campaign, dubbed Serval, encountered guerrilla fighters using pickup trucks armed with the Russian 14.5mm gun. The latter has a range of 1.2 kilometers, greater than that of the 12.7mm, or 0.50-inch, NATO standard weapon. The French Army wrote that lesson into the requirement for the special forces’ replacement vehicles, the executive said. (Source: Defense News)
BATTLESPACE Comment: The UK MoD is looking at a similar vehicle with the usual suspects offering vehicles such as NAVISTAR, and Boeing with the Phantom Badger, Renault would not comment on whether it was offering the Panhard vehicle.
06 Jan 15. The UK MoD has awarded Babcock International (Babcock) a contract worth £900m over a 10-year period to transform the way the Army’s vehicles are maintained, repaired and stored. The contract has the potential to grow to around £2bn as a result of plans, subject to value for money, to optimise a broader scope of services. The contract has been awarded as part of the sale of the Defence Support Group (DSG) land business to Babcock for £140 million, which was announced in December last year. From April this year Babcock will deliver the services currently provided to the Army by the DSG land business. Over its lifetime, the £900m contract will generate total savings to the Army of around £500m. This represents a reduction of over a third of the current costs.
Minister for Defence Equipment, Support and Technology Philip Dunne MP said: “This contract is excellent news and puts DSG on a sustainable long-term footing to support maintenance and availability of land platforms for the Army, in a similar manner to existing contracts for support of platforms for the other services.
“Babcock will provide DSG with key engineering and fleet management expertise which it has built up over 15 years of working with the Army. DSG will also gain the potential to provide vehicle maintenance to other existing heavy vehicle customers, which it is unable to do while owned by the MOD. The contract will also ensure the Army’s continued access to improved vehicle repair and maintenance support – all at significantly better value for money for the taxpayer. Babcock has committed to develop DSG and has already identified commercial work for DSG from within the Babcock Group. No MOD sites will close on sale. All DSG land business staff will transfer to Babcock with their terms and conditions protected. Babcock will lead a business improvement programme over the first