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NEWS IN BRIEF

NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

14 Aug 06. Iraq: OP TELIC. An earlier announcement about the repositioning of Multinational Forces in Maysaan Province referred to operational changes and not to a transition to Iraqi control. (MoD, 14 Aug 06.) The majority of 1st Bn The Grenadier Guards has returned to Lille Barracks in Aldershot. The remaining 200 troops are expected home in September 2006. (MoD, 15 Aug 06.) 40 Iraqi Army Instructors passed out of the Infantry Battle School at Brecon, Wales. (MoD, 16 Aug 06.) Up to 180 UK soldiers with 16 Warrior armoured personnel carriers assisted Iraqi Forces following an attack on the Governor’s office in Basrah. (Reuters, 16 Aug 06.)
Comment: July 2006 was reported as being the deadliest month since hostilities began, with 3,438 Iraqi civilians having died a violent death. 2,625 roadside bombs and similar devices were discovered during July, of which 1,666 were exploded. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0632, 21 Aug 06)

21 Aug 06. The Government’s spending watchdog has launched an investigation into a controversial shipbuilding project that has been linked to electoral “bung” claims. The National Audit Office confirmed that one of its senior directors, Tim Banfield, is probing the multi-million pound Landing Ships Dock (Auxiliary) contract for four ships. Latest Ministry of Defence figures show that the ships are now costing a total £496m – compared with an original estimate of £332m.The inquiry began after the MoD closed the contract this summer because of “considerable cost growth”. The investigation is likely to shed light on the decision- making that led to the MoD handing £84m to the Swan Hunter yard, months before the last general election. Critics complained about the award because the yard is near to the constituencies of prominent Labour politicians such as Tony Blair and David Miliband. Gerald Howarth, shadow defence minister, said: “We need to know why so much good money after bad was thrown at Swan Hunter; and whether this reckless use of taxpayers’ money was designed as a bung for Labour support in the North-East in advance of the general election.” The MoD confirmed the NAO investigation and said it was carrying out its own “lessons learned exercise”. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
BATTLESPACE Comment: This development will come as no surprise to our readers given the comments alredayt expressed in earlier issues of BATTLESPACE Update. BATTLESPACE UPDATE Vol.7 ISSUE 20, 20th May 2005, Swan Hunter may be mothballed)

USA

22 Aug 06. Boeing Co., previously beset by technical and budget problems during production of communication and spy satellites for the U.S. government, also has run into difficulties building the military’s latest navigation satellites, the Air Force said. Boeing’s performance as the prime contractor on the most advanced version of Global Positioning Satellites has been hampered by “development and production delays” serious enough to prompt at least a 15-month slip of the initial launch, according to information released by the Air Force. The service’s statement also faults the Chicago aerospace giant for having “a lack of clear functional organizational lines” to ensure accountability for hardware production by at least one subcontractor. Amid a constellation of troubled and much-delayed multibillion dollar Air Force satellite projects, the GPS system has stood out as perhaps the best managed and technically most successful. Some two dozen GPS satellites already are in orbit, and they are widely used for military as well as civilian purposes. Boeing and Lockheed Martin Corp. are building new models to upgrade and replenish the constellation. But according to the latest Air Force statement, programmatic and technical issues on the first three GPS IIF satellites built by Boeing led to a previously undisclosed independent review of the program. It also prompted changes to create a “more realistic schedule” and allocation of extra money so that the w

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