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2 Dec 02. Sources close to BATTLESPACE suggest that in spite of the MoD sabre rattling during Farnborough to speed up the Watchkeeper airborne sensor requirement to meet new terrorist threats, the process has stalled again with bidders being asked to go back and submit new solutions with ‘less Israeli’ content.

The provision of an extra £1bn in last week’s budget for an Iraqi war may also be part of the reason given the Chancellor’s reluctance to fund the prime Minster’s global aspirations. The defence budget is sure to suffer further if the Chancellor’s bullish growth figures fail to materialise for next year. His current spat with the Prime Minster for succession is growing daily with the belief in some quarters that this personal fight is affecting many areas of the UK economy including University funding and the Euro`.

A similar position existed in 1902 where a similar malaise resulted in the comment by Major-General Sir Robert Baden-Powell, the hero of Mafeking, imagined that Britain, like Rome, would be destroyed from within by a moral virus which he believed was already spreading among the young.’ (The Rise & Fall of the British Empire, Lawrence James, Abacus).

BATTLESPACE was told by an Insys representative recently that the new bid submitted by the Lockheed Martin team met with favourable approval by the MoD particularly in relation to its capabilities in network communications and its training abilities.

Predator appears to be a ‘must have’ segment for Watchkeeper given its current success in hunting down terrorists.

However we are told not to hold our breath with a decision being made by the end of January at the earliest.

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