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16 Oct 16. Ministry of Defence contractor hopeful Penman Engineering thrown lifeline by Hull lorry-building firm, A troubled Scottish engineering company vying for the contract to supply the Army with a new generation of armoured off-road vehicles could be saved from the scrapheap by an East Yorkshire-based coachbuilder.
Penman Engineering, headquartered in Dumfries, called in administrators in August after contract delays triggered a cashflow crisis, and has since cut most of its 140 staff as it battles for survival.
It is understood, however, that the administrator, Armstrong Watson, is close to a deal with Martin Williams Ltd, which makes bodies for lorries and cranes in Hull. Sources said last night there was no guarantee that a deal would be done, but that Martin Williams was “strongly positioned” to acquire Penman.
The company is understood to have attracted more than a dozen expressions of interest since it was put up for sale. A sale could mean that the highly skilled engineers laid off in recent weeks are needed again, particularly if Penman goes on to win a contract to supply the Ministry of Defence with around 180 new armoured vehicles.
Before it hit trouble, the company was preparing a bid in collaboration with the defence giant BAE. In the year to March 2015, Penman’s turnover fell 30pc to £6.9m and profits dropped 80pc to under £170,000.
The problems at the company, founded in 1859, have been called a tragedy by the leader of the local council, who called on the Scottish government to help save the company as it did the nearby Dalzell steelworks when it was acquired by Liberty House in March. Armstrong Watson and Martin Williams both declined to comment. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
20 Oct 16. Refuel International to produce aviation fuel tankers for Australian Defence Force. The Government of Australia has awarded a contract to Refuel International to build new aviation fuel tankers for the Australian Defence Force (ADF).
More than $400m will be spent on the fuel tankers project, with plans to invest an additional $360m over the 15-year life of the vehicles on sustainment, maintenance and repair.
The A$47m ($36.02m) contract helps ADF in replacing its current ageing fleet of refuelling vehicles with the new fleet. The new aviation fuel tankers will be used to refuel and defuel ADF’s current and future fleets of fixed-wing aircraft and helicopters across its Australian bases and at the Royal Australian Air Force Detachment located at the Royal Malaysian Air Force Base Butterworth.
Work under the contract will be carried out at the company’s facility in Sunshine West, Melbourne.
The contract is expected to create more than 60 direct jobs in the region.
Australia Minister for Defence Industry Christopher Pyne said: “Following on from the 60 jobs at Sunshine West, will be dozens more across the state and the country as they draw on their supply chain to complete the contract, as well as in the maintenance and sustainment of the vehicles.
“This is another example of the Turnbull Government getting on with the job, engaging Australian businesses and providing vital pieces of enabling equipment to the Australian Defence Forces, while at the same time supporting Australian jobs.”
Contracts for the sustainment, maintenance and repair of the vehicles are yet to be signed. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
18 Oct 16. The VAB, 40 Years, Ensuring The Smooth Introduction Of Scorpion. 40 years ago the five hundred year old 1st Infantry Regiment welcomed the first armoured vanguard vehicle (Véhicule de l’avant blindé VAB) into its ranks, from the outset making it the centre of operations. The faithful servant of past operations, it is now ensuring the smooth introduction of the Scorpion Programme.
It was in 1970 that Robert Galley, Minister of