15 Oct 03. The NRF was inaugurated at HQ Allied Forces North Europe (AFNORTH), by the Supreme Allied Commander Europe (SACEUR). C-in-C AFNORTH, General Sir Jack Deverell, is to command the first two rotations of the NRF. NRF 1 (15 Oct 03 – 15 Jan 04) and NRF 2 (15 Jan – 1 Jul 04) will be “prototype forces employed to test and develop the concepts and practices of the Force”. An outline of NRF 1 is at page 3. NRF 3 (from 1 Jul 04) is to be commanded by C-in-C AFSOUTH and the NRF is due to achieve an Initial Operating Capability (IOC) by October 2004. NRF Full Operational Capability (FOC), with 21,000 troops, is due to be reached by October 2006. Comment: A MoD spokeswoman was unable to say (16 Oct 03) which unit/s formed the UK contribution of 700 shown at page 3. Apparently, however, between 1,000 and 1,200 UK personnel from all three Services were ‘earmarked’ for the NRF. NRF Land elements were due to rotate on a six-monthly basis while Sea and Air elements were to change every 12 months. The UK’s major Land contribution was due to take place on the sixth rotation, at the start of 2006.
Neither the MoD nor HQ AFNORTH could explain the discrepancy in UK figures. Several telephone calls established that a certain amount of confusion surrounds the NRF, at least in the minds of those appointed to answer enquiries. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 03/41, 20 Oct 03)
21 Oct 03. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Joint Strike Fighter team successfully launched the first phase of the F-35 Data Fusion Risk Reduction flight-test program with recently conducted flights over the Patuxent River Naval Air Warfare Center in Maryland. The objective of the nine-month program is to reduce the development risk of the F-35 JSF’s fusion functionality by evaluating key architectural concepts using a combination of flight tests and flight-validated ground simulations.
22 Oct 03. United Defense Industries, Inc. (NYSE:UDI – News) successfully demonstrated a five-round fire mission from their concept demonstrator providing a first look at the Army’s next generation Non-Line-of-Sight Cannon (NLOS-C). The demonstrator has successfully completed four, five-round missions at six rounds per minute and several other missions at slower intervals totaling over 140 rounds. Mobility testing of the platform is scheduled to begin in early 2004. The United Defense demonstrator went from concept to reality in just six months and is serving as a proof-of-principle test-bed for the Army and its industry partners as they develop a best technical approach for the Army’s future NLOS-C.
13 Oct 03. In a series of Written Answers (dated 6 Oct 03 but not published until 13 Oct 03), the Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed that FRES was still in the Concept Phase. The MoD was “considering procurement options but
no date has yet been fixed for the award of contracts for future Phases”. Acquisition costs had yet to be established but could be in the region of £6,000m. An announcement on the way ahead was to be made “later in the year”. Comment: The concept of FRES is a family of air-transportable medium-weight armoured vehicles, combining the reach and endurance of heavy armour with the air-deployability of light forces. Among the vehicles to be replaced by FRES are: the FV430 series (average age 38 years), the CVR(T) series (31 years) and Saxon(17 years). ‘Initial gate’ approval for FRES was due to have taken place in “Spring 2003” (for an in-service date of 2009), but has still not been achieved. The announcement on the way ahead is awaited with interest. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 03/41, 20 Oct 03)
22 Oct 03. FLIR Systems, Inc. (NASDAQ:FLIR – News) announced that revenue for the third quarter ended September 30, 2003 increased 9% to $70.2m from $64.5m for the third quarter of 2002. Earnings from operations increased 39% to $17.8m, or 25% of revenue, a record high,(2002: $12.8m). Net earnings for this year’s third quarter increased 2% to $10.9 millio