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Dec 07. MAN drops ERF name. MAN says that following the end of ERF production a few months ago, it has decided to change the name of its UK subsidiary from MAN ERF UK Ltd. to MAN Truck & Bus UK Limited. “Let me be clear, this does not mean we are about to reduce our service levels to the many thousands of ERF operators still running our trucks,” said Des Evans, boss of MAN Truck & Bus UK. “We were proud to have the brand in our business and we will continue to take great pride in supporting ERF operators for as long as the trucks are around.” The firm says that as growing numbers of ERF customers switched to D20 and D26-engined MANs to meet Euro 4 emission levels, ERF sales fell to unsustainable levels. (Source: Transport News Brief)

14 Dec 07. European UAV Efforts Move Ahead. The German arms procurement office BWB, acting on behalf of France, Germany and Spain, has signed a contract with EADS for a risk-reduction study of the Advanced UAV technology demonstrator, said the Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA), France’s arms procurement office, in a Dec. 11 statement. The contract is worth €60m, an official close to the project said. Separately, Germany and Finland have given EADS the go-ahead to work on its Agile networked UAV demonstrator, an official familiar with the project said. The Agile unmanned aircraft is designed for reconnaissance and draws on elements of the jet-powered Barracuda UAV, which crashed into the sea last year. “EADS will define a technical solution meeting the operational requirements of the three nations and will mitigate the major technical, financial and time schedule risks,” the statement on the Advanced UAV from the DGA said. EADS’ French, German and Spanish divisions will work with Indra of Spain and Thales of Frances on the Advanced UAV. The study includes development of an onboard synthetic aperture radar. The Advanced UAV is designed as a jet-engined aircraft with mission modules to perform surveillance as well as reconnaissance and target spotting roles. (Source: Defense News)

17 Dec 07. Saab Strengthens Danish Fighter Bid. The JAS Gripen has emerged as a formidable candidate in Denmark’s 48-plane, $4.6bn fighter replacement program after jetmaker Saab and Terma, Denmark’s biggest defense group, agreed to a 15-year, $2bn Industrial Package Cooperation Pact (IPCP). Saab wants to give Danish industry as much work as possible if it wins the contract, said Åke Svensson, Saab’s president and chief executive. “We have been very precise in the terms we are offering, and we believe that our offer is the best solution for Denmark,” Svensson said. Saab is offering Denmark a fully NATO-compatible fighter, with a commitment to deliver “from 2016 or earlier if Denmark so wishes.” Saab’s JAS Gripen-D next-generation fighter is vying against the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin’s F-35 Lightning II in the battle to replace the
Royal Danish Air Force’s 60 F-16s, which are due to be phased out between 2016 and 2020. The Eurofighter consortium and Lockheed Martin have already sent their own IPCPs to Denmark’s Ministry of Defense (MoD), which is expected to pick a winner by 2010. “Lockheed Martin’s F-35 had enjoyed something akin to a favorite’s tag before Saab showed its cards,” a Copenhagen-based defense industry analyst said. “The Danish government has asked the U.S. company to produce a strong industrial package, and Lockheed Martin’s offer includes the potential for Danish companies to share $5bn in contracts relating to the Danish fighter program and the production of the F-35 Lightning II generally” — but only if Denmark picks the F-35. In response, Saab has suggested that it would give contracts worth more than $5bn to Danish companies, and is also offering Denmark a long-term partnership in Gripen development.

17 Dec 07. Sources suggest that January 13th could be the day that the MoD announces the winner of the FRES UV contest. The German ARTEC B

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