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TIPS MOVES AHEAD, SLOWLY – EUROHAWK DRIVES AHEAD

16 May 06. A further development in the NATO Alliance Ground Surveillance AGS Program was announced during ILA. The TIPS industries companies – EADS, Galileo Avionica, General Dynamics Canada, Indra, Northrop Grumman Corporation and Thales – have established a joint venture company to respond to a Request for Proposal from NATO for the AGS program.

A new joint venture company, AGS Industries GmbH, will be the prime contractor for the program. The organisation is registered in Ottobrunn, Germany with a principal office in Brussels. Each of the six companies involved will have an equal share and it will be headed by Larry Harrell, Northrop Grumman International’s vice president for programs as managing director and chief executive officer. There will be no capital, apart from the €23m supplied as Development money for the Risk Reduction Study announced last year, so the funding for the company will be provide by the companies themselves. Thus, any delays will increase the risk and funding.

Officers from five of its member companies will comprise its joint venture covering operations, finances, technology, program and the Transatlantic Cooperative AGS Radar (TCAR) sub-system, which is to be developed. Stefan Baten, from EADS, was named deputy managing director and chief operating officer; Thales’ Patrice Gilardoni was named chief financial officer; Walter Istchenko, from General Dynamics Canada, was named the new organization’s technical officer; Galileo Avionica’s Pietro Bucci was named program officer; and Indra’s Benjamin Martin Alvarino was named TCAR officer.

“I am pleased to have the opportunity to lead the industry team for this most important project for NATO,” said Harrell. “In order to deliver a long-sought after transformational program such as this, we will have a strong AGS Industries team.

On announcing the new company, Johann Heitzman president and chief executive officer of EADS Military Air Systems of EADS was sanguine about the complexities involved,”Managing 23 nations in such a complex project is not a piece of cake,” he said “With the establishment of AGS Industries, we are fulfilling our promise to the alliance, and will be in a position to formally submit our response to NATO’s request for proposal for the design and development phase, which we received last month.”

“We are very satisfied that we have established the AGS Industries GmbH. The joint venture demonstrates the participating companies’ commitment to integration and cooperation, and has helped us to establish a united approach toward our NATO customer.”

Once again, as is becoming common with TIPS press conferences, there was little flesh on the bone. The new RFP will be delivered to NAT in the October/November timeframe and TIPS hopes, and we use that word sparingly, for a decision at the Riga summit in November.

The panel was vague as to the funding of the Program by partner nations and TIPS expects a further €450m for thirty month program following submission of the RFP and a €320m for the TCAR radar Program to allow for the delivery of one platform in the 2012 timeframe. This is a very tight schedule and leaves little room for delays in the development of the TCAR in particular. Rule of thumb suggests that a ten year period is normal for the development of a new radar. In addition the A320 has never been militiarised.

Jim Stratford of Northrop Grumman pointed out that a lot of the Design and Development work was ongoing during the new RFP timescale.

The TCAR team consist of the US 31% thru Northrop Grumman, Canada, France, Spain, Italy and Germany all pay 16% and the Dutch 4%

The TCAR will be a different configuration to the Northrop MP-RTIP which the company told BATTLESPACE is soon to be integrated into a 767 E-10A development platform. The existing E-8 fleet is being re-engined with Pratt & Whitney engines to enable fater deployment and better altitude performance.

Looking at the budget, €3

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