Nevertheless, the debate can be expected to burn hottest in Britain, a strong defence power in its own right with a special transatlantic relationship and ambivalence about its role in the EU political project. A subsequent DID article covering Britain’s futuristic FRES land vehicle family examined this idea further, in the course of explaining the FRES program its defence implications.
Now Britain’s new Minister for Defence Procurement Lord Drayson weighs in. His speech outlines some of the government’s current thinking regarding British defence procurement policy, the country’s industrial base, and its approach to a globalizing defence industry. His stated intent is to produce the outlines of a Defence Industrial Strategy by Christmas 2005. As he puts it in his speech to the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI), one of the world’s oldest defence think-tanks:
Yesterday, DID talked about ongoing efforts in the US Department of Defense toward procurement reform. We covered the pressures, some players, and some major developments, but smaller efforts are also worthy of coverage. Computerworld reports he U.S. Department of Defense is gearing up to move its once-beleaguered Procurement Desktop-Defense 2 (PD2) procurement system from a client/server model to the Web. These efforts will result in distribution on 40,000 desktops, up from the current total of 23,000 desktops at 800 DOD locations worldwide.
The move to the Web is a significant milestone for the SPS program, which halted development of PD2 for a year beginning in 2002 after facing harsh criticism from the Government Accountability Office. This Computerworld article highlights the efforts undertaken to fix the project, including better customer involvement and requirements generation, overhauls to the IT architecture that shifted the system from custom-coding linkages to Webmethods XML adapters, and improved documentation processes. Read the whole article here.
Last week, DID noted an article in The Guardian newspaper alleging that a GBP 40 billion arms deal including Eurofighter aircraft was facing obstancles due to “tricky favours” the Saudis were asking in return. Agence France Presse recently reported Saudi Arabia’s denial that it was engaged in secret negotiations with Britain:
Oshkosh Truck Corp. in Oshkosh, WI received two contracts from US Marine Corps Systems Command in Quantico, VA for its Medium Tactical Vehicle Replacement (MTVR) 7-ton trucks. MTVRs replace the Marines’ existing M809/M939 medium tactical (“5-ton”) trucks, providing a number of new capabilities.
Raytheon Space and Airborne Systems (Raytheon SAS) in McKinney, TX recently received a contract to provide its MTS-A sensors for MH-60 helicopters as well as MQ-1/RQ-1 Predator UAVs. Meanwhile, Lockheed Martin Systems Integration in Owego, NY received a broader contract to integrate a number of enhancements into the MH-60R Block I upgrade.
Northrop Grumman Systems Corp. in San Diego, CA received a $20.5 million cost-plus award-fee contract modification (F33657-01-C-4600/ P00113) “to complete the development of the Global Hawk RQ-4B to meet the start of Initial Operation Test and Evaluation Office in November 2008.” Items covered include operational capabilities (the RQ-4B is currently in low-rate initial production), and critical infrastructure items such as building additional test equipment for the Global Hawk System Integration Lab.
Which may distinguish it from an earlier $42.5 million contract modification (F33657-01-C-4600, P00099) that seems very similar.
DID recently covered the USA’s $3.24 billion order for night vision systems, and explained how they work. Some night vision systems aren’t designed to be worn: DRS Technologies in Palm Bay, FL recently received a $46.2 million delivery order under a firm-fixed-priced, indefinite-delivery/ indefinite-quantity contract (M67854-05-D-1062) to purchase 3,624 high performance Thermal Binocular System (TBS) Tactical Range Thermal Imagers (TRTI).