FRES labeled the most disastrously managed program

Discussion in 'Tanks, planes & ships' started by fantassin, Dec 17, 2008.

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  1. FRES 'Most Disastrously Managed Program'

    LONDON - Britain's Future Rapid Effects System armored vehicle project has been labeled the most disastrously managed program in the history of defense by the chairman of the Parliamentary defense committee.

    The rebuke from Chairman James Arbuthnot came Dec. 16 as new Procurement Minister Quentin Davis and top officials from the Ministry of Defense gave testimony on the state of the defense equipment program here.

    Arbuthnot's attack on the competence of the MoD to run the 16 billion pound ($24.7 billion) FRES program came after the government's decision last week to abandon long-running talks with General Dynamics UK over the supply of its Piranha V wheeled armored vehicle design to meet the utility vehicle element of Britain's key army program because the two sides failed to agree on commercial terms.

    Instead, the Ministry said it was changing its priorities to bring into service "as quickly as possible" the tracked scout version of the FRES family and an upgrade of the Army's Warrior infantry fighting vehicle.

    The changing priorities for FRES were part of a wider equipment examination across the MoD that saw Defense Secretary John Hutton announce delays to Britain's aircraft carrier and fleet tanker programs and minor cuts to the Future Lynx helicopter project.

    Hutton said that the army's current heavy investment in protected mobility vehicles for Afghanistan meant the FRES priority should switch to the scout vehicle to replace the recently upgraded but aging CVR(T) in service with the British Army.

    "Is this [FRES] not the most disastrously managed program in defense industry?" the committee chairman asked Davis and his officials.

    Amyas Morse, the commercial director at the MoD, could only respond by saying that he "wasn't in a position to make that relative judgment."

    Arbuthnot had earlier reminded Davis and his officials that a 2006 committee report into FRES had criticized the MoD, saying the program was a "sorry story of indecision, constantly changing requirements and delay.

    General Dynamics were named provisional preferred bidder for the utility vehicle design in May ahead of rival offerings from Nexter with the VBCI and the Dutch/German ARTEC concerns Boxer - a program from which the British had earlier withdrawn due to changing requirements.

    The UK arm of General Dynamics was selected even though company officials had made clear that they would not comply with MoD requirements to hand the design over to a third party for chassis manufacture and systems integration.

    From the outset, General Dynamics had said it wouldn't agree to pass over its design without some guarantee of additional substantial work on the program.

    Asked why the MoD had agreed to nominate General Dynamics even though it was noncompliant, Davis said the MoD had thought the company would "come around to agreeing to work under the principles of the contract."

    The government's convoluted acquisition program for FRES utility includes the appointment of a Thales/Boeing team to aid the MoD as the systems of systems integrator, a vehicle designer and a vehicle integrator.

    The integrator program would have pitched BAE Systems, Lockheed Martin and a General Dynamics team into competition for the work.

    Now the government is reconsidering how and when to proceed with the utility requirement. It says General Dynamics can compete again for the program at a later date.

    That looks unlikely unless there is a change in the acquisition process by the MoD. That appeared possible, with the MoD acknowledging in a statement released Dec. 16 that it was looking at how to proceed with the integrator role.

    "The MoD is considering how best and when to take forward the utility vehicle program. This will include consideration of the way forward on the utility vehicle integrator competition."

    On the scout vehicle front, the ministry said the "FRES Specialist Vehicles, which includes Scout, is currently in its assessment phase. An announcement on the procurement strategy for FRES Specialist Vehicles will be made in due course."

    The origins of the FRES program go back to the late 1990s as the answer to British Army requirements to rebalance its forces with air-transportable, medium-weight armored formations.

    Covering wheeled and tracked vehicles across 16 different roles ranging from the utility variant to reconnaissance, support and direct fire variants, FRES has for some years now been called the Army's priority program.

    Estimates vary about how much has been spent on the project by the MoD so far without producing a single vehicle, but it's not difficult to get beyond 400 million pounds by the time the 188-million-pound cost of the canceled Tracer and Boxer programs, assessment phase work on FRES, technology demonstrator projects and other spending is taken into account.

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  2. its a disgrace. fact.

    no matter how its dressed up and how 'complex' it may be, its shameful.
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  3. Except for inter alia Nimrod, Bowman and MRAV, perhaps?

    These large projects are always difficult to manage. Too many Chiefs and not enough Indians....!

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  4. nah, fres takes the biscuit as there was an extant military off the shelf solution that we dily-dalied around wasting millions before making a decsion on that military off the shelf solution - that we've now cancelled!!
  5. FRES was managed????? :?
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  6. FRES is a load of shit.
  7. I thought that.......! :)
  8. Sorry, I've got to edit that one....

    These large projects are always difficult for the Civil Service to manage.

    Civi Street seems to cope normally, soon as a Government Department go near it.....Pete Tong all round!
  9. the civil service didn't manage FRES, whilst there may be CS on the project team it remains a military project.

    IIRC within DEC GM's remit, please correct if wrong!
  10. strip away the bollocks of microwave armour and punch above that of a chally 2 :roll:

    it a wheeled apc with a gun possible missile on
    err theres quite a few of those floating about :evil:
  11. Sympathetic_Reaction

    Sympathetic_Reaction LE Book Reviewer

    I'm pretty sure the head of the FRES IPT is a CS. A chap called Phil Riley if a quick Google is correct.

    There may well be Military in the IPT and above it, but the main team will be a DE&S team, which is civil service mainly. I'll wait to be corrected but that's my understanding.

  12. Whilst a headcount would show most IPT staff to be CS, this includes a substantial proportion at fairly low level. A high number of 'decision-making' posts however (including nearly all requirements managers) tend to be military officers at SO1/SO2 level.

    However, I would concur with the'chiefs and indians' parallel - really far to much emphasis on the process of procurement, rather than the spirit of the requirement.
  13. I know two of the past SO1s on FRES and they were both highly competent, well qualified officers. however they were embedded in the DPA (as was) and so effectively neutralised. Neither chose to continue their careers in green.
  14. yes, but don't forget that the IPT dances to the tune of the DEC
  15. Saw this coming a long time ago - it has always been a programme looking for a doctrine.

    That and trying to shoehorn too many incompatible requirements into a single family of kit.