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NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

31 May 05. 46 Companies Vie To Supply Armored Tanks To Czech Army. Forty-six companies, including Austria’s Steyr-Daimler-Puch and Finnish arms maker Patria, are in the running for a contract to supply the Czech army with 234 tanks, valued at about 25 billion korunas (€820m), the Czech Defense Ministry said May 27. (Source: Defense News)

12 May 05. DML Group, the defence support specialist, is looking to implement an innovative new practice in its bids for combat system upgrade contracts, and has held an industry day as a first move in taking this new approach forward. Attendance at the event indicated a high level of interest in the new mode of operation. DML has played a pioneering role in the application of open systems architecture (OSA) and commercial-off-the-shelf (COTS) technologies in a number of initiatives involving the supply and installation of specialised systems in warships and submarines. Now the company is highlighting the benefits of a radical new approach to enable the MoD to capitalise fully on the advantages of OSA and COTS technologies. Key to this is the benefit of working with small and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) to provide various elements of new systems via a number of smaller, more ‘nimble’ contracts – and it is this that was the focus of DML’s industry day held last week (Tuesday 4 May), in Ston Easton near Bath.

26 May 05. Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability (MARS): Outline Programme
The Armed Forces’ Minister said that the MARS programme was in the Concept Phase and was planned to enter the Assessment Phase “shortly”. The main investment decision was to be made in 2008. Comment: MARS is a rather silly name for Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) replacements. The three key elements of the MARS programme are designated: bulk consumables (BC); forward aviation support (FAS) and joint sea-based logistics (JSBL). A ‘family’ of eight to 10 vessels is expected to meet the requirement. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 05/21, 30 May 05)

27 May 05. Terrier Combat Engineer Vehicle: Prototype Unveiled. A Terrier prototype was unveiled by the Defence Procurement Minister at BAE Systems, Leicester. Comment: Terrier is a highly capable armoured earth-mover and a replacement for the Combat Engineer Tractor (CET), although the new vehicle is more powerful than the CET and approximately twice the weight at 31 tonnes. A Demonstration and Manufacture contract worth “almost” £350m for 65 Terriers was signed with Royal Ordnance (BAE Systems) on 19 Jul 02. At the time of contract signature, it was said that the first 20 Terriers would enter service in 2008. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 05/21, 30 May 05)

USA

31 May 05. The turmoil surrounding the Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) could be resolved soon by the Pentagon’s acquisition chief, the Army’s top acquisition official said recently. “We’re completely changing management, moving it to a place where it makes sense on the West Coast; we’re taking a look at Cluster I to say what’s the art of the possible, what’s the requirement now, today, and what spirals we should look at,” said Claude Bolton, assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology and acquisition executive. The Army is going to examine all the JTRS clusters to ensure they can communicate, he told the Army Aviation Association of America symposium here. This also means the program will likely be scaled back and stretched out, so other systems could be utilized in the interim until JTRS becomes available, he said. In a few weeks, specific direction for the program will come soon from Michael Wynne, the Pentagon’s acquisition chief, Bolton said. (Source: Ann Roosevelt, Defense Daily)

01 Jun 05. Thales Communications, Inc., has advanced the overall communications capability of the warfighter with the completion of a suite of system components for its Joint Tactical Radio System (JTRS) Enhanced Multiband Inter/Intra Team Radio (MB

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