C4ISR&NETWORKS – Interview: Bernard Gray, UK Chief of Defence Materiel

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20140930 C4ISR - Bernard GrayBernard Gray is chief of defense materiel for the UK Defence Ministry. (Harland Quarrington / UK Ministry of Defence)
Sep. 30, 2014

Q. What did you gain from signing the £3.5 billion manufacturing deal with General Dynamics for the Scout armored vehicle before they had completed the critical design review of the most important variant?

A. It became possible for us to negotiate an extremely attractive contract which offered a significant advantage over waiting. At the same time a lot of effort has gone into retiring various risks around, for example, the main armament and the turret.

Without breaching the secrets of the confessional, the letter we got from the Treasury approving the purchase was the most positive that I have ever seen because what it said is we put in place an extremely taut arrangement that protects the taxpayer and delivers this system for lower cost. We struck a very, very favorable deal which also locked in a critical system for the Army. We were the beneficiary of a buyer’s market.

We now have to go out and deliver it, but all of the pressure is on General Dynamics to do that and we have a significant contract in our pocket to protect us.

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