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UK DEFENCE INDUSTRY BACK ON THE AGENDA

2 Oct 02. BATTLESPACE has received news that, following intense industry lobbying reported in our June/July issue (Volume 5, Issue 6 June/July 2002, ‘DEFENCE INDUSTRY POLICY PAPER TO ADDRESS FUTURE U.K. PROCUREMENT POLICY’), the UK Government has responded favourably to the requests that more UK-produced equipment be purchased instead.

In due course we believe that Ministers will be meeting with BAE SYSTEMS and the Chief Scientist amongst others to thrash out a new procurement strategy which may come into effect after the retirement of procurement supremo Sir Robert Walmsley in March 2003. The erosion of the industrial base has been of a concern to BAE in particular and the failure of the government championed telecoms bonanza to ‘wire up the UK’ may have caused worries as to the future of the industrial base and future R&D in the current climate.

The selection of Carlyle as the bidder for the QinetiQ business in favour of W.S. Atkins cause rumblings in that some believed this would slant any QinetiQ business towards US contractors may be overdone and some caveats put in place. The failure to win QinetiQ and a profits warning has damaged W.S. Atkins with a profits warning and the departure of Robin Southwell to pastures new.

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