Monday, March 22, 2010

UK Ministry of Defence: Defence Equipment Acquisition Announcement

UK Ministry of Defence: Defence Equipment Acquisition Announcement
March 22, 2010

Kicking a number of issues into the long-grass by reference to the imminent UK General Election, Secretary of State for Defence made a brief and likely final statement for this parliament regarding certain programs;

1. CVR(T) (Replacement for the Scimitar armed reconnaisance vehicle) reaches Preferred Bidder (PB) stage. This programme dates back to original TRACER/FSCS joint program with the US Army in the late 1990s which has progressed on a low level basis for sometime as a technology development program. The new vehicle will be produced by General Dynamics of the USA leveraging their acquisition of Austrian company SDP and the ASCOD design.

2. UOR (Urgent Operational Requirement) for 200 Light Protected Patrol Vehicles (LPPV) to address the political fallout around the vulnerability of 'snatch' vehicles to roadside bombs and IED devices.

3. Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme decision deferred. Timelines would suggest this will not reach a Ministerial Red Box before early 2011 in the next government.

4. Three Rivet Joint aircraft procured to replace Nimrod R1 capability for ELINT. Whilst it could be suggested that the IAB apparatus was swayed by electronic surveillance fit, inter-operability in-theatre with the USAF and so forth it seems somewhat odd to replace a 1960s British built airframe which is being retired with an airframe from overseas - which dates back to the 1960s and the Vietnam era. These types of decision seem to explain the complexity of maintaining old equipment and the burden of in-service support costs. It seems surprising though probably time driven, that solution around the ASTOR or a UAV platform was not given greater weight.

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