European Defense Contracts

By LEANDER SCHAERLAECKENS, UPI Correspondent  |  Jan. 14, 2008 at 9:51 AM
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BRUSSELS, Jan. 14 (UPI) -- EADS to sell three tanker/transport planes to Saudi Arabia

EADS won a contract to supply the Royal Saudi Air Force with three of its A330 multi-role Tanker/Transports, according to the company's Web site.

The deal comes on the eve of the appropriation of the $40 billion, 179 tanker/transport plane U.S. Air Force contract, for which EADS (partnered with Northrop Grumman) and Boeing are battling.

The value of the Saudi contract and the delivery schedule has not yet been disclosed.

The model sold to Saudi Arabia is similar to units previously sold to Australia, Britain and the United Arab Emirates. Boeing is offering the U.S. Air Force a modified 767, which it has sold to Italy and Japan though production has suffered severe delays.

All these planes include the new fly-by-wire Air Refueling Boom System, which was born out of a three-year $100 million development investment made by EADS.

Final offers were submitted for the Air Force competition on Jan. 3, 2008, but the Pentagon has refused to commit to a date to grant the contract.

Although the Saudi contract would slightly soften the blow if EADS were to lose the U.S. Air Force contract to Boeing, the Pentagon insists it will not be influenced by past purchases by other nations.

France, Britain launch $20M missile-development initiative

France and Britain have committed a combined sum of roughly $10.3 million, which is to be matched by private sector, to create the Innovation and Technology Partnership that aims to consolidate European missile technology, prepare for future requirements, satisfy research needs and build ties for future production, according to The Engineer.

The ITP will be made up of Britain's Defense Technology Center, France's Armament Procurement Agency and a consortium of companies that includes Thales Air Systems, Thales Missile Electronics, Microturbo, Selex, Roxel and QinetiQ Nexter Munitions.

The program, which will include small and medium enterprises and universities, will last three years and could be extended by another two years. It follows a $1 billion British contract awarded to MBDA, Thales, Roxel and QinetiQ to create "Team Complex Weapons," which would yield a Loitering Munition Demonstration and Manufacture program, according to Defense Industry Daily.

Russia denies S-300 delivery to Iran

The Russian Federal Service for Military-Technical Cooperation said Russia wasn't planning or negotiating the sale of the S-300 air defense missile system to Iran, contradicting earlier reports by Iran and the media quoting Iranian Defense Minister Mostafa Mohammad Najjar.

RIA-Novosti reported that Russia said it only has dealings with Iran that honor international arms export legislation.

Russia previously sold Iran 29 Tor-M1 defense missile systems, which were delivered last year, and also trained Iranian personnel to operate the equipment, according to Ria Novosti.

DCNS begins Barracuda production

Twelve months after being awarded a contract to supply the French Navy with six nuclear-powered attack submarines, production has begun on the ships that are to enter service between 2016 and 2027, DCNS reports.

The ships will replace the Rubis/Améthyste class.

LCN bought up by Daher

LCN Ltd., an expert on precision engineering and manufacturing from Britain, has been acquired by French equipment and service supplier Daher, Daher's Web site reports.

LCN supplies the British Ministry of Defense, BAE Systems, MBDA and Thales, according to Defense News.

The monetary value of the deal was not disclosed.

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