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Sep 09. The UK’s largest union Unite has reacted with anger to the calls for cuts in defence spending which would jeopardise thousands of jobs across the UK by Conservative Shadow Chancellor George Osborne and his Lib Dem opposite, Vince Cable. George Osborne was reported to have cited the Â£20billion Eurofighter/Typhoon project, the £4bn project to build two aircraft carriers and the £2.7bn order for 25 A400 transport aircraft as projects to be slashed. The BAE Systems assembly line for Typhoon at Warton alone is estimated to have 100,000 jobs dependent on the project.
Vince Cable has also outlined that there should be a review of defence spending priorities including a second new aircraft carrier and argues that cheaper options from abroad could sought for projects including the £7 billion Future Rapid Effect System (FRES) in his pamphlet published by the think-tank Reform. Unite’s National Officer for Aerospace & Shipbuilding, Bernie Hamilton said: “The comments by Vince Cable and George Osborne fundamentally exposes the Lib Dems and Tories as slash and burners. Both these parties fail to understand that the defence of our nation starts with the ability to be able to supply its armed forces with its own manufactured defence equipment. To casually talk about the cancelling of contracts such as the Aircraft Carriers, Typhoon and the FRES armoured vehicles as if they are pieces on a chess board betrays the loyal hard working people who build these advanced pieces of equipment for our nation’s armed forces.”
BATTLESPACE Comment: It seems that there is a move afoot within the highest echelons of the Army to have e complete rethink on FRES and draw a line under a Project which some see as Cold war legacy, thus allowing the RAF and the Royal navy to continue with their legacy Programmes. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that the Army is looking at a separate 8×8 UV project for the purchase of around 120 8×8 vehicles in 2011 with Trials vehicles being purchased from the usual suspects next year for another ‘Trials of Truth. DSEi was abound with news of WCSP and FRES, with the Government appearing to be playing one off against the other. With FRES looking rocky and the possibility of Warrior being withdrawn from Afghanistan as it cannot fight on the move and its Rarden canon is suffering from reliability problems, both may be cancelled/delayed. If that happened, the CV90 line would almost certainly close with huge redundancy costs to BAE Systems. The other likelihood could be that BAE goes along with its threat to close its UK vehicle business. One Company which could take up the slack and wants to get back in the armoured vehicle business is GKN Plc. (See GKN CELEBRATES 250 YEARS, By Julian Nettlefold), watch this space as GKN is believed to be a partner on the Revolve LPPV offering
14 Sep 09. 14-25 Sep 2009. Exercise Bold Avenger kicks off in Denmark. From 14 to 25 September, NATO will conduct a live flying exercise at the Karup Air Base in Denmark. More than forty fighter jets as well a