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Mar 04. Award of the MoD Support Vehicle contract to bidder TVS UK Ltd would create 600 new manufacturing jobs in the West Midlands says Amicus. Manufacturing union Amicus is supporting the US led Stewart and Stevenson bid for an MoD contract to manufacture military vehicles which will create hundreds of new jobs at the LDV plant in Drews Lane, Birmingham. Amicus’ National Secretary for the automotive industry, Duncan Simpson, said. Transport and General Workers’ Union General Secretary Tony Woodley has also given the union’s backing to a TVS UK Ltd bid for a Ministry of Defence contract to manufacture military vehicles. If the bid is successful, hundreds of new jobs will be created in the West Midlands as US-based Stewart & Stevenson has teamed up with three UK partners including Birmingham van maker LDV to win the MoD Support Vehicle Programme contract. The MoD is expected to make a final decision on the contract by the end of March.

22 Mar 04. The secret to Rolls-Royce’s resilience to the sharp downturn in its main civil aerospace market lies in the comprehensive restructuring pushed through by senior management. In February, analysts were amazed when the group revealed it had reduced the unit cost of its engines by 5 per cent in one year. Last year, it completed the rationalisation programme announced in October 2001 as it shed a further 2,100 full-time workers, bringing total job losses to 8,300, or 19 per cent of the workforce, over the period. A further 1,000 contract workers also lost their jobs. The measures were aimed at producing annual savings of £270m. The cutbacks were essential to match a sharp reduction in demand – engine production almost halved last year to 770 units from a 2001 peak of 1,362. (Source: FT)

10 Mar 04. Lockheed Martin [NYSE: LMT] has made great strides in preparing to introduce a system of paperless technical manuals for the worldwide F-16 fleet. These computer-accessible electronic guides will eventually replace the mounds of paper documents that currently accompany each delivered Fighting Falcon. The F-16 International Technical Order Digitization (ITOD) program is paving the way for electronic manual support of next-generation fighters such as the F/A-22 and F-35 Joint Strike Fighter. In addition, it could save hundreds of millions of dollars over the decades-long service life that remains for some 3,000 F-16s in 24 countries.

19 Mar 04. BAE SYSTEMS announced that the Government of India and the British High Commissioner to India had signed a MoU “for the effective and uninterrupted implementation of the contracts regarding acquisition of 66 Hawk Advanced Jet Trainers (AJT)”. The MoU “underpins the supply of 66 aircraft, with associated support and interim pilot training.” Comment: BAE SYSTEMS confirmed that the first batch of 24 advanced Hawk 100 were to be built in the UK and the following 42 in India, through a partnership with Hindustan Aeronautics Ltd (HAL). The first UK-built aircraft is due to be delivered to the Indian Air Force in 2007. (An examination of BAE SYSTEMS as a company appears in the current (20 Mar 04) edition of ‘The Economist’, starting on page 82.) (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 04/13, 22 Mar 04).
18 Mar 04. The Department of Defense announced plans to award $43.5 million to academic institutions to support the purchase of research instrumentation. The awards are being made under the Defense University Research Instrumentation Program (DURIP). The 213 awards to 92 academic institutions are expected to range from about $50,000 to $900,000 and average $205,000. DURIP supports the purchase of state-of-the-art equipment that augments current university capabilities or develops new university capabilities to perform cutting edge defense research. DURIP meets a critical need by enabling university researchers to purchase scientific equipment costing $50,000 or more to conduct DoD-relevant research. The researchers generally have difficulty

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