February's top stories: UK Armed Forces ranked world's second most gay-friendly military

The UK Armed Forces has been ranked the second-most gay-friendly military in the world and the US DARPA is planning to accelerate transition of its adaptive vehicle make (AVM) portfolio to the defence industrial base ahead of original schedule -- Army-technology.com wraps-up the key headlines from February 2014.



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UK Armed Forces ranked world's second most gay-friendly military

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The UK Armed Forces has been ranked the second-most gay-friendly military in the world by Netherlands-based independent research group, Hague Centre for Strategic Studies (HCSS).

Sharing second spot with the Netherlands, Britain received top scores for putting the gay community at the forefront of all policies and practices around admission, tolerance, inclusion, exclusion and persecution.

New Zealand tops the first ever index, which ranked the armed forces of 103 countries by its inclusion of lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) service members, in a transparent, systematic, and comparable overview of 20 policies and best practices.

PESA to support US Army's communications and transmission systems

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PESA has been selected to support Serco in execution of the US Army's communications and transmission systems (CTS) indefinite delivery/indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract.

Serco was chosen by the army as one of 12 companies to compete for task orders on the multiple-award CTS contract, which has an overall ceiling value of $4.1bn over a five-year performance period, in October 2013.

Under the contract, the company will provide mission critical audio/video hardware and software to include its joint interoperability test command (JITC) certified Cheetah video distribution systems for use in army and Department of Defense (DoD) command and control centres in support of the overall team effort.


India may award Chinook and Apache contracts this year

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Boeing is anticipating contract awards for 15 CH-47F Chinook heavy-lift helicopters and 22 AH-64E Apache combat helicopters from India by later this year.

Currently in last signature routing with the Ministry of Defence for both the planned procurements, India submitted final offers for acquiring Apache and Chinook in 2009 and 2010 respectively and the company has also held the prices for both helicopters since then.

Boeing Vertical Lift vice-president and general manager Leanne Caret said: "We expect that the contract award for the Chinook will come in the first half of the year, and the award for the Apache in the second half of the year."

Australian Department of Defence extends Fujitsu's DCCS contract

The Australian Department of Defence (Defence) has extended Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand's distributed computing centralised services (DCCS) contract for three more years.

The contract extension is valued at $170m, and will involve provision of services including the service desk, service catalogue, information technology service management (ITSM) tools support, processes, and resource based tasking for server and desktop, email and groupware.

Fujitsu Australia and New Zealand CEO Mike Foster said: "We have engaged in a major transformation programme that is helping Defence better manage and optimise change within its ICT environments.


Ukroboronprom signs foreign economic contract for T-64 tanks

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Ukrspecexport subsidiary Ukroboronservice has signed a foreign economic contract for major upgrade and supply of T64BV-1 main battle tanks (MBTs).

The contract represents a significant step towards the introduction of the tank, great numbers of which are available in Ukraine, on the global arms market.

Ukroboronprom Armored Vehicles, Artillery Armament, Automotive Vehicles, Engineering and Special Equipment Division director Vadym Fedosov said the sale of T-64 tanks to foreign markets is more profitable for the country than recycling them.

Micronet to develop new computer-based missile defence testing system

Enertec Systems 2001 has been awarded a contract for the development and supply of a mission critical system for testing a range of missile defence systems to an undisclosed customer.

Under the terms of the $2m project, Micronet Enertec Technologies' (MICT) wholly-owned subsidiary will manufacture and supply a generic computer-based test, diagnosis and simulation system designated to support a vast range of advanced missile defence systems.

The contract was awarded by a leading Israel-based aerospace and defence integrator partnering with a major US contractor for the development and global marketing of an advanced missile defence system.

DARPA plans early transition of AVM portfolio to defence industrial base

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The US Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA) is planning to accelerate transition of its adaptive vehicle make (AVM) portfolio to the defence industrial base ahead of original schedule.

The transitioning of AVM portfolio for continued research, development, refinement and propagation is scheduled to take place through the Digital Manufacturing and Design Innovation Institute (DMDII), planned for launch in 2014.

One of the three institutes within the US President's National Network for Manufacturing and Innovation, DMDII will focus on the development of novel model-based design methodologies, virtual manufacturing tools and sensor and robotics-based manufacturing networks.

UK and France agree to further strengthen defence co-operation

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The UK and France have signed agreements to further strengthen defence co-operation after a summit at RAF Brize Norton in Oxfordshire, UK.

Signed by the UK Prime Minister David Cameron and French President Francois Hollande, the communiqué builds on the Lancaster House treaty signed in 2010, and aims to advance the security and prosperity of the two countries through joint investment in the procurement of defence equipment, and the joint training of armed forces.

The two countries have signed a statement of intent that would launch a two-year, £120m joint feasibility phase for a future combat air system, and technical arrangements for an exchange programme to provide RAF pilots and engineers with experience of operating the A400M ahead of its delivery, and for French pilots to gain flying experience on the RAF's A330 Voyager aircraft.