- The Washington Times - Thursday, June 5, 2008

Highlights from the world of military procurement

IRAQ

KRG to form energy ministry

IRBIL | Iraqi Kurdistan’s ministries of Electricity and Natural Resources are to be merged, and oil chief Ashti Hawrami is likely to be named minister.

Sources here told United Press International that Mr. Hawrami is the front-runner for the soon-to-be-established post of Kurdistan Regional Government (KRG) minister of energy.

Mr. Hawrami, minister of natural resources, where the hydrocarbons portfolio falls, negotiated and signed nearly all the dozens of deals the KRG has inked with international oil firms to explore for and produce oil and gas.

He has often had public disagreements with the federal Oil Ministry over the deals, which Baghdad calls unilateral and illegal. But he is popular here in Iraq’s north and is praised for his leadership by oil companies and politicians.

“He has been doing some good work professionally. He’s experienced and talented, and we benefit from his experience. He’s professional,” said Falah Mustafa Bakir, the head of the KRG’s Department of Foreign Relations.

Mr. Bakir confirmed the new Energy Ministry, but deferred comment on Mr. Hawrami’s post.

CALIFORNIA

Modtech Holdings wins Army contract

PERRIS | The U.S. Army has contracted Modtech Holdings Inc. to support the Military Operations on Urban Terrain program with 120 new modular training buildings.

Modtech says 95 percent of the construction on the modular training buildings, designed to provide soldiers with a realistic urban training environment, will take place at its California-based facilities. The buildings are then delivered to the Army’s MOUT training sites for installation.

Company officials say the 120 modular training buildings, some with courtyards, kitchens and hiding caches among other home amenities to capture realism, are each made up of either two or four individual modules.

“This type of training facility is cost-efficient as well as effective for training,” said Rick Bartolotti, Modtech senior vice president operations and group president.

“Construction of these buildings is very rapid at our modern production facility staffed by a skilled labor force, advancing our troops’ access to necessary training facilities,” he said.

CHINA

Radiation detectors ordered for Olympics

SAN FRANCISCO| China’s customs agency has contracted Mirion Technologies for radiation-detection equipment as part of security operations for the Beijing Olympics in August.

San Francisco-based Mirion Technologies’ Health Physics division will supply its PDS-100GN pocket radiation detectors and its HDS-100GN hand-held search and identification detectors to the Beijing Olympics security authorities.

Company officials say the PDS-100GN and HDS-100GN, part of Mirion Technologies’ MGP Instruments product line, are designed to detect any potential radioactive- or nuclear-material threats.

“We are honored to provide equipment to assist in the security of one of the highest-profile sporting events in the world,” said Antony Besso, Mirion Health Physics division president.

“Our equipment is specifically designed for use by border- and site-security personnel to detect, identify and quantify hazardous radioactive sources immediately, while differentiating from medical, industrial and naturally occurring radioactive materials,” he said.

CONNECTICUT

Chemical detectors to identify threats

DANBURY | Smiths Detection announced the launch of its HazMatID Ranger, a new portable chemical-threat identification technology.

The HazMatID Ranger is a variant of the company’s trademarked HazMatID, deployed to identify solid and liquid threats by the emergency-response community and the military. Company officials say the HazMatID Ranger offers a Fourier transform infrared analysis that provides spectral results, a list of probable substances and components in mixtures.

The HazMatID Ranger, supported by full-time technical assistance, is capable of identifying more than 32,000 suspicious threats used by terrorists for improvised explosive devices, among other applications.

“Our products already lead the way in advanced security solutions for military and civil markets, but we are always seeking new opportunities to broaden our industry position,” said Stephen Phipson, Smiths Detection group managing director.

AUSTRALIA

Plant to produce unmanned aircraft

BRISBANE | Unmanned-aircraft systems (UAS) developer Insitu Inc. announced plans to establish a subsidiary based in Australia in response to increased demand.

As part of Insitu’s new global expansion effort, company officials announced the formation of Insitu Pacific Pty. Ltd. Washington state-based Insitu, a developer of the Integrator and ScanEagle UAS military reconnaissance technologies, says the expansion is an effort to address the company’s growing relationship with the Australian Ministry of Defense.

“This is an exciting beginning to our global expansion plans for the Insitu portfolio of products, and Queensland’s commitment to developing technology makes it the perfect location for our first subsidiary,” said Steve Sliwa, Insitu chief executive officer.

“The decision to move forward with this expansion is based on our growing volume of business with the Australian Defense Force, and our planned expansion into commercial markets.”

Insitu’s UAS, developed jointly with Boeing, offers troops surveillance and reconnaissance capabilities in the challenging Iraq and Afghanistan combat zones.

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