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23 Oct 02. Sources at AUSA suggested that the UK Watchkeeper programme had gone back to the Prime Minster’s Office just when an announcement was expected on Tuesday.

Thales appeared please by the announcement as sources suggested that the high Israeli content of their solution may have put it out of the race. We had originally suggested that BAE and Northrop Grumman were the finalists whereas at AUSA some suggestions were made that Thales may have displaced BAE which would be a disaster for the latter’s UK C4ISTAR prime aspirations already in tatters after the loss of BOWMAN.

Further discussions from all parties are expected with an announcement expected in 10 days.

Northrop Grumman dispelled all rumours of the demise of its Fire Scout UAV system at a briefing to BATTLESPACE at AUSA. The company confirmed that the U.S. Navy has committed to full funding of $40m for EMD into ’03 with continued testing thru ’04-08 with 5 aircraft and 3 or 4 ground systems. Nortjrop has recived considerable increase in the system from a number of navies inclusing the Spanish for 2 systems per F-100 frigate (3-4 ordered) and the Royal Navy for targeting support.

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