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26 Apr 06. Sources suggest that both BAE Systems and General Dynamics UK are offering interim buy vehicles for the Saxon replacement requirement. BAE has offered a basic 8×8 SEP vehicle that can have a technology-insertion at a later date whilst GDUK is offering an 8×8 with an electric-drive option.

24 Apr 06. Call to scrap Scottish Enterprise. Brian Wilson said ministers should take control of the economy. A former Scottish industry minister is calling for economic development agency Scottish Enterprise to be scrapped. Ex-Labour MP Brian Wilson said politicians must take more direct control of efforts to grow the economy. Mr Wilson was the minister in charge of Scottish Enterprise immediately before devolution in 1999. He said the agency lacked accountability, overused outside consultants and had failed to find a big idea to replace inward investment. Politicians should take more direct control of Scottish Enterprise and its £500m budget, Mr Wilson said. He wondered why “a large part of economic and industrial policy” was not controlled by the enterprise minister but instead “further devolved” to an unelected quango. Mr Wilson suggested that the enterprise minister could replace Sir John Ward as the agency’s chairman. He also said the minister should consider scrapping Scottish Enterprise and creating a new structure. He said: “I think in many ways it would be a good idea just to scrap it and start again.”There are a lot of things wrong with Scottish Enterprise. There is a huge culture of the use of consultants. “There is a huge area of unaccountability which makes it very hard for both ministers and civil servants to get to the bottom of what is going on in this organisation.” His call came as Scottish Enterprise bosses prepared to face questions from MSPs on restructuring plans and a £34m budget overspend. The agency’s chief executive is among those due before Holyrood’s enterprise committee. (Source: BBC)

01 Apr 06. 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF: Change of Helicopters. Three new Agusta A109E helicopters replaced the three Twin Squirrels with 32 (The Royal) Squadron RAF on 1 Apr 06. The new aircraft have been leased for an initial period of five years and will be operated under the ‘civil-owned, military-operated’ scheme. Comment: With a cruising capability of 155 knots, the A109 should cut journey times by up to 20% over the Twin Squirrel. 32 (The Royal) Squadron operates fixed wing and rotary aircraft out of RAF Northolt, for the benefit of the Royal Family and other important passengers. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0616, 24 Apr 06)

24 Apr 06. Dassault Aviation, the French aircraft manufacturer, is expecting a medium-term drop in the workload of its Istres and Cazaux sites, which count a total of 800 employees and specialise in flight testing. To solve this problem, it is considering the possibility of acting as a subcontractor to fellow aircraft manufacturer Airbus and to the helicopter manufacturer Eurocopter. Regarding the problem of occupation for employees at the two sites, a company source has indicated that, as an initial solution, an internal workload transfer could take place and that, if this does not suffice, external co-operation partners could then be approached. (Source: Abstracted from Les Echos/FT.com)

25 Apr 06. A Joint Force Harrier detachment will continue to provide vital close
air support and reconnaissance to Coalition and NATO forces operating in Southern Afghanistan, the Defence Secretary John Reid confirmed today. On the third day of his visit to Afghanistan, Mr Reid met with the aircraft crews at their operating base in the southern city of Kandahar. The six Harrier GR7A aircraft have made an invaluable contribution to the success of both the Coalition and the NATO-led International Security Assistance Force (ISAF) missions. Following requests from both NATO and coalition commanders, the MoD
has agreed to extend their deployment initially from June 2006 to 31 M

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