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EUROPE

24 May 06. Second Gripen offset claim approved in Czech Republic. Second Gripen offset claims approved by Czech Ministry of Defense amounts to over 6.6 Billion CZK (approx. 234 million EUR Gripen International welcomes the approval of the second annual Offset Performance Report from the Czech Ministry of Defense. After almost 2 years into the 10 year Gripen offset program, the total offset claim now approved amounts to 6.6. Billion Czech Crowns (approx 234 million EUR) representing 26% of the total Offset obligation. The latest claim includes ten new Offset partners. The lease of Gripen, the new generation multi-role fighter, has through the offset program contributed to the economic growth of the Czech Republic and brought employment opportunities through industrial partnerships and export promotion, says Bengt Littke, Czech Program Director, Gripen International. Successful course of the offset program represents an evidence for Czech Republic having sufficiently manifold and effective industry, otherwise it would not be possible to realize the offset transactions in such a volume. Defense Ministry of the Czech Republic does not rate the offset program only as a temporary bonus, it is an opportunity for Czech companies to commence a long-term cooperation, said Mr. Cirtek, spokesperson of Czech Republic’s Defense Ministry.

22 May 06. Military Chief Details Swedish Fighter Plan. The Swedish Defense Forces (SDF) wants to overhaul its Air Force fighter fleet, buying 100 of the latest C/D Gripens and upgrading 30 A/B Gripens to the C/D version, according to Gen. H•kan Syrén, the country’s supreme military commander. Syrén proposed the move in a commentary he wrote for the May 15 issue of the Swedish daily newspaper Svenska Dagbladet. “The security-political situation has changed,” he wrote. “We are working under a smaller budget now. In 1982, the Air Force had some 300 fighter planes. By 1996, this was 204, and in the future the emphasis will be on having an Air Force fleet that is smaller but stronger and with more national and international interoperability.” Syrén lofted the proposal to stimulate political debate as Sweden’s military restructures and its defense budget shrinks. Defense Minister Leni Björklund told the Riksdag, the national legislature, that the government is open to talking further to the SDF about its procurement needs. “The government’s position remains the same,” she said May 16. “We want a more dynamic, compact, modern and cost-efficient defense force. As regards the Aair Force’s future procurement needs, we must look at how more value can be delivered in the long term.” The proposal is meant to create a more compact yet potent air-defense capacity for home defense and international missions. It would reduce the number of front-line fighters to 130: 100 new from Saab’s JAS Gripen production wing and 30 upgraded A/B type Gripens. About 40 Gripen A/Bs could be sold overseas, as-is or upgraded to the C/D class. (Source: Defense News)

24 May 06. Fusion reactor work gets go-ahead. The agreement gives the go-ahead for work to start. Seven international parties involved in an experimental nuclear fusion reactor project have initialled a 10bn-euro (£6.8bn) agreement on the plan. The International Thermonuclear Experimental Reactor (Iter) will be the most expensive joint scientific project after the International Space Station. Wednesday’s agreement in Brussels gives the go-ahead for practical work on the project to start. Fusion taps energy from reactions like those that power the Sun. The seven-party consortium, which includes the European Union, the US, Japan, China, Russia and others, agreed last year to build Iter in Cadarache, in the southern French region of Provence. Cleaner energy The parties say fusion will lead to a cheaper, safer, cleaner and endless energy resource in the years ahead. (Source: BBC)

22 May 06. BAE Makes Unsolicited Bid for U.K. Pilot Training, Support. BAE SYSTEMS

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