Thursday, January 31, 2008

Ainsworth: Defence training project on track

Ainsworth: Defence training project on track

A Defence Policy and Business news article
31 Jan 08

A vital project to deliver a new tri-Service training hub continues to progress, Defence Minister Bob Ainsworth said today, 31 January 2008, when he updated Parliament on the Defence Training Review.

The aims of the review are to deliver further investment and modernised training for the Armed Forces, to maintain the Department's commitment to its supervisory care responsibilities under the Blake Review (resulting from the events at Deepcut), and to rationalise and improve the Defence Estate.

In a statement to Parliament, Mr Ainsworth said the Government continued to make progress on Package 1 of the Defence Training Review (DTR) which aims to deliver training for all three Services in Engineering and Communications and Information Systems at a new site at St Athan in South Wales.

It is hoped that construction in St Athan will begin in 2009, with the first phase of tri-Service training beginning in 2013. The MOD hopes to secure the contract with Metrix as soon as possible and it is still anticipated that the Department will be in a position to consider the main investment decision in the spring of this year.

Mr Ainsworth said:

"The Government is committed to giving our Armed Forces the best training available so they continue to perform to the highest standards and are equipped to deal with any challenges they will face.

"The delivery of new tri-Service training centres under the Defence Training Review will ensure we give our personnel the best living and learning environment we can offer."

"The delivery of new tri-Service training centres under the Defence Training Review will ensure we give our personnel the best living and learning environment we can offer."

Mr Ainsworth also told Parliament that the MOD will continue to consider a range of options for the solution to Package 2, which aims to deliver high quality training in the functions of logistics and personnel administration, police and guarding, security, languages, intelligence and photography. To be able to consider all options for procurement fully without legal constraints, it has been decided to remove the 'Provisional Preferred Bidder' status from Metrix.

This does not have any impact on the Department's commitment to the DTR Programme, or in pursuing a Package 1 Metrix solution with vigour, but it does allow the Department to focus its efforts on alternative approaches for Package 2, which are not legally constrained by the original terms of the procurement. These alternatives may continue to be open to Metrix and other potential industry partners.

A further DTR update on both packages will be provided later this year.

Friday, January 4, 2008

New partnership on future guided weapons technology

New partnership on future guided weapons technology

UK and France launch new partnership on future guided weapons technology

Britain and France announced a new initiative in European defence research collaboration, with the formation of an Innovation and Technology Partnership (ITP) focused on materials and components for missiles.

The ITP builds on the UK’s Defence Technology Centre concept, and will be jointly funded by the British and French governments and an industry/academia consortium led by MBDA. Others companies will include Thales Air Systems, Thales Missile Electronics, Microturbo, Selex, Roxel, QinetiQ and Nexter Munitions. The UK MOD will fund £2.5M/pa and the French DGA €3.5M/pa, while industry expects to match the combined total of the Government funding. The ITP will initially run for 3 years, extendable to 5 years.
The ITP aims to consolidate a future European guided weapon capability by building the technological base and allowing a better understanding of common future needs. It will also prepare for future cooperative programmes by fostering co-operation.
Following a meeting of the Franco British High Level Working Group, a joint Government/Industry forum for enhancing cooperation in defence acquisition, Baroness Taylor, the Minister for Defence Equipment and Support and Francois Lureau, the French National Armaments Director, said
“This Innovation and Technology Partnership is a tangible example of European cooperation that will help ensure that both the UK’s and the French armed forces will continue to have access to vital technology, and maximises the benefit of investment from the British and French Governments and from industry.

“Both governements have identified the need for further work on emerging technologies for complex weapons, as underlined in the UK Defence Technology Strategy, together with the importance of the UK and France building the base for a future Franco-British complex weapons capability. Today’s announcement underlines our commitment to taking this forward through innovative collaboration across national governments and industry. The Missile ITP establishes a new business model for defence research.”

The ITP aims to fulfil joint research needs of UK and France for missile technology. It will identify common capability and technology needs and identify and de-risk emerging technologies for future equipment. Governmental experts of both nations will establish a Joint Team to monitor and evaluate jointly the different workpackages of this project, in the broader perspective of expertise sharing. The collaboration also aims to provide more effective access to innovation from SMEs and Universities and forge better links between industry and government.

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