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NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

20 Sep 06. EDA Reports 43 National Defense Contracts Open To Cross-EU Bidding. Europe’s national defense ministries have posted defense procurement tenders
worth more than €1bn ($1.27bn) since the launch two months ago of the European Defense Agency’s (EDA’s) new market-opening rules for the sector. The actual value is probably much higher, agency officials say. Eight EDA nations — Germany, Finland, France, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Sweden and the United Kingdom — have posted 43 defense tenders to an electronic bulletin board on the EDA’s Web site. Of these about 30 percent, or 14 tenders, carry contract values which together equal approximately €1.2bn, EDA Chief Executive Nick Witney told reporters here Sept. 20. He added, however, that his agency estimates the total value of the 43 tenders posted so far “probably approaches the €3bn mark.” The values of 29 posted contracts are masked. Examples of the kind of equipment advertised on the EDA’s procurement bulletin board include the United Kingdom’s search for medium-support helicopters and Finland’s requirement for radar systems, he said. Witney said he expects the volume of defense tenders posted to the Web site to pick up considerably in 2007, when new annual defense budgets take effect. EU countries collectively spend about €30bn each year on defense equipment and systems. The EU defense agency launched its so-called Article 296 code of conduct July 1. Except for the most strategic buys, such as nuclear weapons and encryption tools, which are excluded from the rules, the new regime requires all defense procurement orders worth at least 1 million euros to be thrown open to cross-border bidding. All 25 EU countries except Denmark belong to the agency. However

21 Sep 06. Airbus confirms more A380 delays. Airbus hoped its A380 would usher in a new era in passenger jets. The parent company of European planemaker Airbus has confirmed there will be a further delay in deliveries of its flagship A380 super-jumbo. EADS did not give any cost or timeframe for the hold-up which is again linked to wiring problems, the cause of an earlier delay announced in June. The firm said it would provide more details in four weeks after it had completed a review of the programme.
Comment: Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the wiring contract on the A380 was the first to be placed in-house and not under sub-contract. Not a smart move given the complexity of the work. (Source: Defense News)

13 Sep 06. Foreign Affairs Committee (FAC): Middle East Inquiry. Most of the evidence session (13 Sep 06) with Dr Kim Howells MP, Foreign Office Minister of State (Middle East), was occupied with questions concerning UK policy on Lebanon and the Palestinian situation. On Afghanistan Dr Howells repeated assurances that UK Forces had sufficient resources but that “we need NATO to be pulling its weight”.
Comment: The Committee Chairman expressed his disappointment that the Foreign Secretary had been unable to attend and stated that she may be called to give evidence before Parliament returns from Recess. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0635, 18 Sep 06)

11 Sep 06. Defence Attachés: Upkeep. The Armed Forces’ Minister said (11 Sep 06) that the cost of Defence Attachés to the MoD had been £37.2m in 2004/05 and £38.7m in 2005/06. Comment: The figures quoted represent the cost of Defence Advisers/Attachés attributable to the Defence Budget; 70% of the total. The remaining 30% is paid by the FCO and covers accommodation, fixed communications, security and some other support costs. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0635, 18 Sep 06)

USA

20 Sep 06. Lockheed: Proposed JSF Cuts ‘Going the Wrong Way’. Lockheed Martin’s top manager for the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program warns that proposed Congressional and Pentagon funding cuts would disrupt the program and raise its cost. Tom Burbage said these would be “going the wrong way in terms of being able to main

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