Future Rapid Effects System - no defence contractors!

The UK Ministry of Defence has moved closer to reviving the delayed £6bn programme to build the army's next generation of armoured vehicles after cutting the list of potential candidates to run the assessment phase from seven to four.

The technology consultancy arms of four companies - EDS, PA Consulting, Qinetiq and WS Atkins - received letters this week informing them they had qualified for the next phase aimed at selecting the winner by late this year.
It followed a radical change of direction by the MoD. Last month, it confirmed it would proceed with a new approach to the procurement process by using a technology company, instead of a large defence contractor, to conduct a 24-month study.
I saw an internal comms brief to this effect last week and was quite amused. The company WS Atkins are one of the named companies and are one of the standard government consultancy-milkers.

Is this good, bad or simply laughable?
I think that the DPA - bless them - are clutching at straws again. No doubt the usual defence company suspects have been offering solutions that obeyed the laws of physics and wouldn't be more than the standard one or two years late.

However, such vehicles would not meet the totally unrealistic requirements necessary to make Hoon's claims that FRES would be a credible replacement for currenr vehicles true. So, rather than prove the Defence Secretary wrong some delaying tactics are needed. Two years is a good period, as it means that all the DPA staff involved at the start will have moved on by the end and those who get to clear up the mess can blame their predecessors.

And awarding it to "technology companies" allows the DPA to dream that someone will suddenly shout "Eureka" and solve their problems. Of course it won't, as mentioned above the laws of physics tend to militate against such things.
theres some motorized mountain boards on ebay not sure if they come in green though :twisted:
Francis Tusa in his publication Defence Analysis had a good phrase for this assessment by un-involved companies.

These companies will be "Personal shoppers" for the MoD. An essential part of the lifestyle of the rich and lazy.

They will find out what the MoD want, find something near enough, and tell them its ideal. All for a huge fee and an extra 2 years delay in kit getting to troops.

Its only going to be an armoured vehicle for gods sake!

The US has spent billions on trying to defeat the laws of physics and get a vehicle small and light enough to fit in a Hercules, whilst having the protection and firepower of an MBT. Now even they are wondering if its going to work. The need to survive being hit by RPGs in a messy real world situation has finally dawned on them. Their original plan was that smart sensors would let them destroy any threat before it got near FCS, fine for high intensity war against recognisable targets, hopeless for counter-insurgency against guerillas.

As FRES follows the US FCS, (it was the US that started on the outside consultancy idea first) if the US rethinks FCS then by next year FRES could be getting delayed here too.
Yup, the whole Defence Procurement thing is a dogs dinner...... I'm sure they have a load of a spaced out 'Star Trek' fans as their consultants. I'm convinced of it. And why all the acronyms???????? Today Defence Procurement Minister Reg Spronkit announced the purchase of more acid tablets....

What I want is a Nimitz class Star Cruiser, with Warp 5.6, photon torpedoes, one of those really cool total immersion Virtual Reality Rooms with a 'Porn Movie' setting. And I fcuking want it NOW!
From today's Washington Post. Looks like even the Yanks have doubts about FRES as a do-able project as far as armour's concerned. What price a UK system? Check out the last few paragraphs. :roll:

The Army will announce today it has contracted with International Business Machines Corp. to build one of the world's fastest supercomputers to help develop more effective weapons systems.

The Defense Department will spend about $15 million on the supercomputer, which will be housed at the Army Research Laboratory's Major Shared Resource Center in Aberdeen, according to Dave Turek, an IBM vice president.

The supercomputer will perform at a peak speed of 10 teraflops, or 10 trillion mathematical operations per second, Turek said. A person with a calculator would need 8 million years to finish calculations the supercomputer can make in one second, he said.

Last week, the Navy selected IBM to build an even faster computer, at a cost estimated at less than $100 million, to produce weather forecasts for fleets at sea.

The Army's new supercomputer -- nicknamed "Stryker," after an armored Army combat vehicle -- will run on Linux, a free, "open source" operating system that is a rival to Microsoft Windows.

"These high-performing computing systems allow us to understand the physics behind" how weapons systems work, said Charles J. Nietubicz, director of the Army's research lab in Aberdeen.

For example, Nietubicz said, the Army may seek a lighter substitute for a 70-ton tank but "we can't make it more vulnerable."

"We can use composite materials, which may be stronger than steel in some cases. But how do we know it's going to work? Well, you use supercomputers to give the engineers and scientists a handle on whether it's even practical."
So the government want to invest in this technology in a bid to save money.

Having read how much these "super computers" cost, what will we get? Probably one rejected by the US whereby it couldn't work out how to spell tank let alone design one :evil:

Ficking t0ssers :x
I will give the spams some credit. I was at Honington when the runway at Lakenheath was being repaired, so all of the F-15s were at our place. If an engine goes pear-shaped on one of those it's a couple of hours to replace it. If you have to do that on a Tornado it's the best part of a couple of days!

They do tend to spend the money to find out what is do-able first. Unlike us - i.e. Bowman, Tornado, Eurofighter, Nimrod AEW (have the air-corp boys fixed the problem of FOD damage to Apache when it fires it's weapons?).

Mr Happy

MikeMcc said:
(have the air-corp boys fixed the problem of FOD damage to Apache when it fires it's weapons?).
I hear grounding the fleet works pretty well.

On the larger consultancy angle... I've worked with them, and I'm currently working with one. Consultancies are only as good as their staff, their product is their ability and knowledge, independance is another (see later comments).

When a consultancy sends along a consultant to meet you it sends a very flash, smart, incredibly experienced impressive did I say smart, smart articulate guy, usually with a second freebee (just travel expenses, no fee and you two for the price of one!). You think, blimey 2K a day but my God he's good. You then sign a contract for 10 of them for a year - but they're slightly more junior and so only cost 1,500 a day... When they turn up, eight of them are just out of university, one knows what he's doing and the other probably does but you're sharing him (half rate!!!) with a project in Manila and you'll never see him - only his invoices.

The trick, of luck of the draw, is to ensure that your 8 smart grads are worked to the bone - you need to manage your external consultancy - so instead of turning up and fixing your problems, they just bring you a large bill and some new ones. About 55% of the time they fix the problem, this can be a worthwhile expenditure of money, depending on the problem and it is a painful risk. If anyone wants some bullet points on this I can talk specifics.... back to laymans...

Consultancies are not stuffy fuddy Tories, they are young, hip, chic, I wear jeans and shorts ot the office when I'm not seeing clients, and listen to my iPod at my desk kinda racey guys. When employing a consultancy like PA Consulting (based above Victoria station FYI) it is their underlying plan to keep the money rolling in, most people would hope that comes through hard work and performance leading to issueing of more contracts but in big business it comes through saying "yes", or in this case, "Yes, Minister". Which, to be honest, is the fundimental problem with employing a company that earns this way....

The results of this two year study will be:

1. It's a tough call
2. Requirements are to high, need to be more 'achievable' given new 2006 budget
3. We can achive most of your requirements as a project management consultancy leveraging on our unique skillsets, relationship with suppliers as evidenced by annex A-G and because we're looking for a retired minister to join our board in X years.
4 Because we'll be cheaper than anyone else, or at least right up until you sign this no-break-clause contract... Then mister penelty clause comes in.

Writing about this makes my blood boil. Anyway, 4 contractors (no favoritism (the short straws might not pay enough at board level) and no experience), 2 years for a lengthy review.... My god, my wife couldn't spend this amount of money if she spent all her days in shoe shops.

The solution is of course to pay MOD procurement guys bonuses up to 200% of their salary, you would then see some smart guys working for the government taking risks and being d.y.n.a.m.i.c. rather than opting for the safe path/career/oh well another two years delay - it's all about market forces....

Right I'm up for a fight now I've got myself all riled - anyone got Tysons number? I hear he's a push over...
DPA :lol:
ever seen the film Pentagon Wars??
it is a true story and sums up defence procurement
Said it before and I'll say it again: FRES= Fatuous Rationale for Extra Savings (just made that up!)


AFV not RPG-proof? Total waste of time and money.

Our success on PSO is attributable to our superb heavy forces.
Empower our light forces with all-terrain crew-served weapon and ammo-carrier platforms (bren gun carriers!) - such as Wiesel.

Cash is short so go for COTs solution (er...Wiesel again).

This is all crap. We're being turned into a peacekeeping gendarmerie by stealth.

Mr Happy - count me in. Lets go smash fcuk out of something. See you in Whitehall outside the Moon on the Mall in 15 minutes and we'll jump some civil servant/ministers/tourists...

No - Fcuk that! Lets set light to a FIRE STATION!

Vehicle that has the firepower and flexibility to deal with the same threats as an MBT, and can get to where you want it quickly?

CR2 & more C5 / Antonovs. RPG proof, and can get there quickly, or quick enough to arrive before some smart material space platform cooks off.

Grownups, I'll have some of what your on...

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