15 Jun 05. The publication of the National Audit Office (NAO) report: ‘Ministry
of Defence – Assessing and Reporting Military Readiness’, was welcomed today by Armed Forces Minister, Adam Ingram. The NAO report examines the way MOD defines, measures and reports how well prepared the Armed Forces are to undertake potential operational challenges they may be asked to face. The NAO found that MOD has a good system in place which compares well with that of other countries, such as the United States and Australia. The report notes that the system is continuously improving and that it has proven itself over time. The MOD agrees with the NAO’s recommendations which – as the report acknowledges – are already being taken forward. Comment: The reaction to this report from Government differs from that of others including Michael Ancrum, Shadow Minister for Defence who said that this report demonstrates quite clearly that our Armed Forces are overstretched. The EP05 which have yet to be published indicate more savage cuts.
17 Jun 05. Clarification of the announcement by Denis Ranque that Thales had been cleared the Watchkeeper selection has been received by BATTLESPACE. A Thales spokesman said that he hoped to receive the contract, which had passed Main gate and Treasury by the end of June. Indications are that the initial contract may be for further development and de-risking of the system, particularly in terms of the software package and the airworthiness. A full contract is indicated for some time in ’06. Thales showed its Watchkeeper system at Paris with a few changes. Out goes the HMT vehicle in exchange for a shelter, a move that may save money, due to the reported high cost of the HMT, but lower deployability and the ability of the system to keep up with fast moving troops. Also the system had a model of the new Thales IMET radar in place of the proven GA Lynx system, already chosen by the U.S. for FCS deployment.
15 Jun 05. The RAF has recently celebrated a milestone in the development of its
new Typhoon aircraft with news of the successful firing of an Advanced Short-Range Air-to-Air Missile (ASRAAM). The trials, which took place during May, saw ASRAAM launched against targets at the Aberporth range on the Welsh coast. These were the first in-service missiles launched by Typhoon, with each successfully launched and guided to the target. Data from the tests have been analysed, confirming a successful trial where all the RAF’s objectives were met. Comment: One down one to go. The immaturity of Typhoon’s European missile system is seen as a drawback of its exportability. Fitted for AMRAAM it may be some time before Meteor is fielded which will also require a complete software upgrade, given the current system supports AMRAAM. In addition its Rafael competitor is having a radar upgrade to compete with the active array Raytheon system on the F-15E.
17 Jun 05. British defense exports hit a five-year high in 2004, according to figures released by the country’s Defence Exports Sales Organisation (DESO) at the Paris Air Show. Exports totaled $8.2bn last year, up $400m from 2003. The figures were buoyed by several large deals, including BAE SYSTEMS’ sale of Hawk jet trainers to India and Paradigm’s share of a NATO satellite communications contract. In a break with tradition, DESO rolled out more details of British performance and included a forecast of where the main defense export sales hikes can be expected in the future. According to those figures, Asia is to become the main battleground for arms exporters over the period 2005-20. DESO says Asian growth will be fueled by regional tensions, terrorism threats, the rise of China and the unpredictability of North Korea. A market worth nearly $200 billion this year could total more than $350 billion by 2050. Figures provided by DESO show Asian spending overtaking Europe by 2013. Spending in other regions will remain flat, it says. British export figures accounted for 2