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NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

03 Jul 06. EDA vs. MoDs: A Crisis of Confidence. The European Defense Agency (EDA) has come under serious fire from national capitals for trying to do too much too soon, industry and European Union (EU) sources said. At a strategic powwow here July 7, known as a prep-com meeting, the agency’s 24 constituent national defense ministries will be pressed to clarify if they want the EDA to function as a mere matchmaker for random joint projects or as a real force for developing common pan-European strategies in support of the union’s defense and security policy. Of the 25 EU member states, only Denmark has opted out of the EDA and its decision-making steering board. “There’s a bit of a crisis. Yes, you could say that,” one European defense industry executive said June 27. “They need to clear the air around the EDA and its raison d’etre.” While the young agency has scored some impressive goals in its 24-month life — crowned by the July 1 launch of sweeping new rules to create an internal defense procurement market in Europe — it also has suffered setbacks. For example, it has failed so far to get its ministries of defense (MoDs) to agree on necessary flanking measures to the code of procurement conduct, such as common rules on security of supply, security of information and, crucially, a common view on industrial offsets. Perhaps more important — and contrary to initial industry and agency expectations — the EDA has been denied a substantial defense research and technology (R&T) budget of its own. Its R&T budget for 2006 is just 5m euros ($6.3m), sufficient only to fund small studies or technology demonstrator projects. (Source: Defense News)

03 Jul 06. Germany’s 1.7B Euro Buying Decision. The German parliament, or Bundestag, last week approved six procurement projects worth a total of 1.7bn euros ($2.1bn). The procurement plan pushed through during the June 28 session includes missiles, armored vehicles, radar and satellite communications programs. However, some requests were pushed back for consideration at a later date. A parliamentary source said the request for a second batch of two U-212
submarines, which was supposed to be part of the June 28 parliamentary session, will instead be brought before parliament at the end of this year. That also is the expected time for parliament’s approval of the ground-attack version of the
Eurofighter Typhoon. Of the approved projects, all slated for completion over the next 12 years, two have been heavily criticized by the local media and some government officials — the PARS-3 LR Trigat missile for the Tiger attack helicopter and the Dingo 2 armored vehicle. The Trigat is widely regarded here as a Cold War-era product designed to counter a threat that no longer exists — namely, Warsaw Pact tanks. Requested in 1982 and to be fielded by 2010, the missile is 28 years too late, said its critics — among them Die Walt and Alexander Bonde, Green Party member of parliament. On the other hand, the request for 149 additional Dingo 2 armored vehicles is not enough under the prospect of Germany committing itself to more out-of-area operations, according to the daily newspaper Die Welt. German forces were attacked three times last week in northern Afghanistan, including a suicide attack that failed to inflict harm on the crew of a Dingo vehicle, but killed and injured several Afghan civilians. Johannes Kahrs, a Social Democrat and defense rapporteur in parliament’s budget committee, agrees with the criticism regarding the Dingo 2, saying that 149 vehicles is “too few and, more important, too late.”
He pointed out the passage in the official request paper, which states that the procurement of the Dingo 2 will not be concluded before 2011. Defense News saw a copy of the document. Regarding the LR Trigat missile, however, Kahrs said that was a “decision based on several equal reasons to go for Trigat. Domestic industrial interests certainly played a role, because the missile was developed

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