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NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

02 Oct 06. Likelihood of French Navy’s PA2 Carrier Drops to 50%. French industry has slashed the chances of building a second aircraft carrier, reducing the prospective value of French shipbuilder DCN and the amount Thales will pay for its 25 percent stake. The Porte-Avions 2 (PA2) carrier program is key to the valuation of businesses in the convergence naval consolidation plan agreed between DCN and Thales in December. The plan calls for DCN to become the national champion in naval shipbuilding after Thales hands over the bulk of its naval assets and €100m to €150m ($127m to $190m) in cash. In return, Thales will receive one-quarter of the shipbuilding firm. But the deal’s completion is being delayed by protracted efforts to nail down financial terms — in particular, the value of Thales Naval France. Now the two firms say there is only a 50 percent chance that the PA2 carrier will be built, according to a Sept. 28 interview given by DCN Chief Executive Jean-Marie Poimboeuf to business daily Les Echos. (Source: Defense News)

26 Sep 06. Labour Party Conference: Defence Secretary’s Address. The Defence Secretary addressed (26 Sep 06) his Party Conference, stating that “….the last five months have been the most intense and challenging of my life.”. Mr Browne said that “no one is talking about sending British troops to Lebanon or Darfur”, before mentioning Iraq and giving most of his time to Afghanistan.
Comment: The Defence Secretary also said: “….I never thought I would end up in this job”; which probably explains a very odd speech. A copy of Mr Browne’s remarks is available to subscribers on request. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 0637, 02 Oct 06)

05 Oct 06. Upgraded ‘jump-jet’ enters service. Defence Minister Adam Ingram will unveil the latest version of the iconic Harrier jump-jet at a special ceremony at RAF Cottesmore in Rutland on Tuesday 10 October 2006. Under an incremental half a billion pound upgrade programme, the Royal Air Force and the Royal Navy will get a fleet of aircraft fitted with the latest technology and weapon systems. Known as the GR9 it will effectively double the Harrier’s effectiveness as a precision ground attack aircraft.
29 Sep 06. Deliveries of a new light anti-tank weapon to British combat troops will be delayed because the missile development program is running into technical difficulties, the British Ministry of Defence (MoD) said. The Next Generation Light Anti-Armour Weapon (NLAW) is being jointly developed by the British and Swedish governments. The missile was to enter service with
British forces in November, but now it’s likely the first brigade won’t be equipped and trained with the weapon before mid-2007, an industry source said. The MoD confirmed the weapon would be delayed. In a statement Sept. 27, it said, “NLAW will not be able to achieve its originally forecast in-service date of November 2006 as a result of technical difficulties. However, we are confident that existing systems will provide an effective capability pending the weapon’s entry into service. There is no net cost increase as a result of the program slippage.” The British acquired Panzerfaust weapons from Dynamit Nobel in 2004 as an interim measure, as the LAW 80 weapon that NLAW was due to replace was taken out of service earlier than expected. British costs in the program were forecast at £356m ($670m) in the “Major Projects Report 2005,” published by the National Audit Office, a government watchdog agency. The MoD declined to discuss the nature of the difficulties. However, the industry source said most of the problems have been overcome. (Source: Defense News)

27 Sep 06. Four Manufacturers Bid for Turkish Helicopter Contract. One U.S. and three European manufacturers offered proposals for Turkey’s utility helicopter program by the Sept. 15 bidding deadline, Turkey’s defense procurement office has said. The Undersecretariat for Defense Industries, or Savunma Sanayi Mustesarligi (SSM)

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