18 Mar 05. Soldier wins VC for Iraq bravery. Private Beharry was badly wounded during the second attack. A British soldier serving in Iraq who saved 30 members of his unit from an ambush has been awarded the first Victoria Cross for more than 20 years. Private Johnson Beharry, 25, twice saved the lives of colleagues while under enemy fire. He is still recovering from head injuries caused in one attack by a rocket-propelled grenade round. He was one of 140 soldiers honoured for tours in Iraq, Afghanistan, the former Yugoslavia and Africa. Defence Secretary Geoff Hoon said: “These honours and awards recognise the outstanding achievements of these extraordinary men and women and their acts of great courage, bravery and determination.” “When I was told, I thought it was great to have received the award – I was speechless,” said Private Beharry. (Source: BBC)
21 Mar 05. Top Joint Strike Fighter program officials are reassuring jittery international partners left reeling after a U.S. Government Accountability Office (GAO) report slammed the F-35 program as “unexecutable” in its current form. The United Kingdom, Italy, the Netherlands and Turkey are the top international partners involved with the program. Costs are ballooning, and the GAO recommended the DoD revamp the $225 billion effort to be more technically “realistic” and affordable. The DoD, however, contends that the GAO used 1996 data that is no longer relevant to assess the program’s cost growth. The DoD also has restructured the program along GAO recommendations to better control technological and schedule risk. The program faces a major review on cost, schedule and technology May 5 by the Defense Acquisition Board. (Source: Defense News) (See: BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.6 ISSUE 41, 30 October 2004, AUSA 2004 – BACK TO THE FUTURE)
21 Mar 05. Boeing Focuses on Naval Systems Integration. After decades of building planes for the U.S. Air Force, and with two years’ experience in the high-tech transformation of the Army, Boeing now hopes to capture a bigger share of naval and intelligence programs, said the chief of the company’s defense branch. On the intelligence front, Boeing plans to buy some small companies and form alliances with others. “That will give us the domain knowledge that we need in order to be credible with some of the customers that we aren’t familiar with today,” Albaugh said. Last September, Boeing announced a 10-year alliance with IBM to develop advanced ground and space-based systems for military, intelligence and homeland security uses. There are other, as-yet-unannounced alliances in the works, Albaugh said. The desired customers include the National Security Agency and other intelligence agencies, he said during an interview at Boeing’s Washington office March 15. (Source: Defense News)
23 Mar 05. Future Surface Combatant (FSC): Two-Class Concept Confirmed. The Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed (16 Mar 05) that current plans assumed that the FSC requirement would be met by two Classes of ship. A Military Off The Shelf (MOTS) FSC variant, known as the Medium Sized Vessel Derivative, was expected to enter service between 2016 and 2019. The principal FSC element, now known as the Versatile Surface Combatant, was expected to enter service “around” 2023. Comment: The FSC programme for replacement frigates was originally known as the Future Escort and it has already undergone an extended Concept Phase. The future number of frigates remains as announced on 21 Jul 04, i.e. 17 in addition to eight destroyers to give a total of 25 escorts (a reduction from 32).
A MOTS warship procurement remains an intriguing idea which will, doubtless, upset the traditionalists should it eventually take place. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 05/12, 21 Mar 05)
23 Mar 05. BOWMAN just the start. Indications received by BATTLESPACE suggest that the huge investment made by the U.K. Government in the BOWMAN programme may be paying off in the form of export sales of