Defense Industry cooperation highlighted

June 27, 2012 at 3:18 PM
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LONDON, June 27 (UPI) -- Defense industry ties between diverse countries and companies have been recently highlighted by four countries in official visits and talks.

British Minister for Defense Equipment, Support and Technology Peter Luff visited South Korea to help in the development of British-South Korean defense industrial ties, while the defense ministers of Italy and Brazil met in talks that included Brazil's desire to acquire modern surface combat ships.

The visit to South Korea by British official coincided with the announcement that the Asian country had selected Rolls-Royce to supply its MT30 gas turbine engine to power a new South Korean frigate.

"I am delighted to be in the Republic of Korea for the announcement of this important contract," Luff said at a news conference in Seoul. "Its MT30 engine is a testament to British design and engineering skills and has already been selected to be fitted to our Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers.

"This contract shows that defense is -- and will remain -- a vibrant and successful sector in the U.K."

As part of his visit Luff toured the dockyards of Daewoo Shipbuilding and Marine Engineering, which is building four Military Afloat Reach and Sustainability tankers for the British navy auxiliary. The ships will refuel naval vessels at sea in support of British navy missions beginning in 2016.

The contract was awarded to the South Korean company in an open competition. Although Daewoo will do the building, British companies will benefit from associated contracts for the supply of key equipment, systems, design and support services, among others.

On the other side of the world, Brazilian Defense Minister Celso Amorim and his Italian counterpart, Giampaolo Di Paola, met regarding increased military cooperation between the countries and Brazil's Plan of Organization and Equipment of Defense, part of a Brazilian Navy program to acquire 11 ships -- five frigates, five escort vessels and a super support ship.

Italy is interested in developing and building the vessels for Brazil.

The Italian defense minister reportedly told Amorim that Italy wanted to work with Brazil on the project. Amorim stressed the importance of the importance of the transfer of technology to increase Brazil's own national industrial capabilities.

Other comments on the ship-building project weren't disclosed. However, another topic of discussion was the partnership between Italy and Brazil in the AMX light fighter program.

The project began in 1980 and led to Brazil's Embraer company acquiring the skills and technology for subsequent production of civil and military aircraft. Brazil's AMX fighters are currently undergoing upgrading, and the ministers stressed the importance of continued Italian-Brazilian cooperation for the AMX program's logistics needs.

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