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NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

03 May 05. At 1020 hrs on 8 May 2005, HRH the Prince of Wales, will lay a wreath at the Cenotaph in Whitehall to mark the 60th anniversary of Victory in Europe Day. His Royal Highness the Prince of Wales will be accompanied by HRH The Duchess of Cornwall who will watch from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office Balcony.

05 May 05. Blair to upgrade Britain’s nuclear weapons. Tony Blair has secretly decided that Britain will build a new generation of nuclear deterrent to replace the ageing Trident submarine fleet at a cost of more than £10bn – a move certain to dismay thousands of Labour Party loyalists in the approach to polling day.The disclosure that the decision has already been taken will expose Mr Blair –
who has struggled throughout the election campaign to fend off accusations that he lied over the Iraq war – to fresh allegations of deception. He said last week that the decision would be taken after 5 May. But The Independent has learnt that he has already decided to give the go ahead for a replacement for Trident to stop Britain surrendering its status as a nuclear power when the Trident fleet is decommissioned. The choice over the type of nuclear missile system that Britain will deploy is yet to be made. One Labour candidate described the new deterrent as “Blair’s weapons of mass destruction”. The revelation comes as the United Nations hosts a five-yearly review of the nuclear non-proliferation treaty, to which Britain is a signatory. The five nuclear powers in the treaty promise to work towards global nuclear disarmament. Mr Blair will therefore face accusations of hypocrisy, for pressing other states, such as Iran and North Korea, to renounce their suspect nuclear weapons programmes while planning a new British deterrent. (Source: The Independent)

29 Apr 05. QinetiQ chief calls for ‘plug and play’ policy. Current procurement processes are unable to keep pace with rapidly changing world events and should be replaced with a ‘plug and play’ procurement strategy, QinetiQ Chief Executive Officer Sir John Chisholm told the Jane’s/Economist Third Defence Industry Conference in London on 26 April. (Source: Jane’s Defence Weekly)

USA

03 May 05. Boeing, Lockheed Martin to form joint venture to build US military rockets. Boeing Co. and Lockheed Martin Corp., said Monday they have agreed to create a joint venture to produce rockets for the U.S. military. If implemented, the surprise agreement would end a bitter rivalry and set the stage for the two aerospace giants to drop pending litigation involving the rocket business. The joint venture, to be named United Launch Alliance, would be the sole provider of rocket launches for the U.S. Air Force, NASA and other government agencies. Two months ago, the Air Force lifted a 20-month ban that kept Boeing from bidding on satellite launch contracts. The service said the Illinois-based company had corrected problems that led to accusations that it stole information from Lockheed Martin in 1998.

02 May 05. Cost Growth Putting Breaks On CH-53 Replacement. Escalating cost growth has led the Department of the Navy to slow down work on replacing the CH-53 Super Stallion, a senior service official told Congress recently. John Young, the assistant secretary of the Navy for research, development and acquisition, said he has been reluctant to release money for the Super Stallion replacement until the service comes to grips with its increasing price tag. During a hearing Wednesday in front of the Senate Armed Services Committee, Sen. Joe Lieberman (D-Conn.) questioned Young about the delay in releasing funds for the replacement program. “I have not agreed to give the full green light and approval to proceed until we assess the cost,” Young replied. “Indeed over the last six months, the costs on the program have grown substantially, so we have to sit down and have a serious discussion about requirements versus cost.” (Source: Helicopter News: By Sharon Weinberg

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