British thinking on through-life management of military aircraft and systems is already way ahead of that of most countries. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has encouraged innovative contracts that change a traditional industry stand-off role as, for example, a supplier of spares, into that of a partner committed to various packages of enhanced service. Now comes the next step–fully fledged availability contracting.
Selex Sensors and Airborne Systems UK has become the first major tenant at the new West Wales UAV Centre (WWUAVC) at the ParcAberporth technology park. On July 7, during the ParcAberporth Unmanned Systems 2006 exhibition, Andrew Davies, the Welsh Assembly Government’s Minister for Enterprise, Innovation and Networks, officially opened the center.
The UK Ministry of Defence is preparing to issue an Urgent Operational Requirement (UOR) for an unmanned aerial surveillance system to help British troops fight Taliban insurgents in Afghanistan. Some–maybe all–of the likely contending systems are on display here.
Mark Ronald, president and CEO of BAE Systems Inc. and chief operating officer for BAE Systems plc, will be presented with the John Curtis Sword at the Farnborough International reception in London this evening.
BAE Systems is showing its recently-revealed Herti UAV system here for the first time, but the company’s unmanned, low-observable Raven and Corax vehicles are not on display. They have unambiguous defense applications, whereas the Herti is also aimed at the civilian market for a long-duration, low-cost observation platform.
BAE Systems hopes that up to three important UK contracts will be confirmed when British defense minister Des Browne visits the show tomorrow. Production deals for the Royal Air Force (RAF) Nimrod MRA.4 maritime patrol aircraft and the Hawk Mk128 Advanced Jet Trainer are overdue. BAE is also seeking government funds for a British unmanned combat air vehicle (UCAV) technology demonstration program that it would lead.
EADS executives can talk all they want about refusing to allow the Farnborough airshow to dictate the timing of their decisions, but in their current predicament they simply don’t enjoy the luxury of ignoring the opportunity to claw back some credibility here this week.
The Society of British Aerospace Companies has sharpened its priorities and its structures since the last Farnborough show in 2004. Soon after that event, the London-based group published the findings of a long-awaited strategic review, prompted by a UK government Aerospace Innovation and Growth Team (AIGT) report.
Leading UK defense firms and two defense trade associations have joined forces to establish the UK Defence Industry Anti-Corruption Forum. Representatives met for an inaugural meeting of the new forum on May 18.
The opening last year of L-3 Communications’ new office in London represented a significant bridgehead in the defense electronics and communications group’s campaign to expand its international footprint.