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Thales delivers final Hawkei test vehicles
by Staff Writers
Canberra, Australia (UPI) May 31, 2013

Former CIA chief joins KKR investment fund
New York, Usa (AFP) May 30, 2013 - Former CIA director David Petraeus, who resigned in November after revealing he had an extramarital affair, is joining Wall Street buyout firm Kohlberg Kravis Roberts, the company announced Thursday.

The retired four-star general known for masterminding the US military "surge" in Iraq was named as chairman of the newly created KKR Global Institute, which aims to research the investment implications of non-financial global trends.

"I have long known and respected General Petraeus and, on behalf of everyone at KKR, I welcome him to the firm," said KKR co-founder and co-chief executive Henry Kravis in a statement.

"As the world changes and we expand how and where we invest, we are always looking to sharpen the 'KKR edge'."

"KKR is one of the best investment firms in the world," Petraeus said.

"I look forward to supporting the investment teams in their pursuit of the best opportunities for clients and also being a part of a new initiative to provide additional insights to KKR's clients and companies."

The KKR Global Institute was created to study the investment implications of public policy, geo-political, macro-economic, regulatory and technology trends around the world, KKR said.

As head of the institute Petraeus will work with senior KKR officials and support its investment teams in diligence research in new investments around the world, KKR said.

Petraeus, 60, is a hero of the Iraq war and former commander of the allied force in Afghanistan, and one of the best known soldiers of his generation.

He took over the CIA in 2011, but resigned in November 2012 after admitting an affair with his biographer Paula Broadwell, 20 years his junior.

Aside from his KKR role, he has teaching positions at the University of Southern California and City University of New York.

Thales Australia has delivered the final two of six Hawkei vehicles to Australia's Defense Materiel Organization for testing and evaluation.

The two reconnaissance variants join two command and two utility vehicles, plus a trailer, all of which have been delivered on schedule. The four vehicles previously delivered have undergone half of the planned 60,000 miles of testing, Thales Australia said.

The majority of the evaluation process is being at Monegeetta, north of Melbourne in Victoria state. Testing includes survivability, communications system integration, electro-magnetic interference/compatibility, reliability trials and user assessments.

The 4x4, 6-crew, 7-ton Hawkei is Thales Australia's next-generation protected vehicle based on its Bushmaster.

The Hawkeis have been delivered under Stage 2 of the Manufactured and Supported in Australia option of Land 121 Phase 4 contract -- a $1.5 billion project to provide up to 1,300 protected and unprotected light vehicles for the military.

The government announced in December 2011 that the Hawkei had been selected as the preferred vehicle for development and testing in Australia's search for an improved protected mobility vehicle.

Thales Australia, formerly ADI, said it expects final approval of the project sometime 2015, as set out in Australia's 2012 Defense Capability Plan.

"We have invested $30 million in Hawkei and Australian industry also has put significant effort into the development of these vehicles," Thales Australia Chief Executive Officer Chris Jenkins said.

The name Hawkei comes from the Latin name for the deadly adder -- Acanthophis hawkei -- which is native to Australia, Thales said.

The vehicle is manufactured at Thales's Bendigo facility in Victoria that employs around 200 people.

The Bendigo facility also makes the 4x4 Bushmaster Protected Mobility Vehicle in use with Australian military operations overseas.

The army acquired its first 300 Bushmasters from 2004-08.

Australia has around 700 Bushmasters, many of which are in Afghanistan and are credited with saving numerous Australian soldiers' lives, the Australian Department of Defense has said.

In March 2012, Australia announced it would spend more than $15.5 million with Thales for the manufacture of Bushmaster components as part of a conditional program to buy more vehicles.

The components have long manufacturing lead times and include hulls, axle and suspension systems, fire suppression systems, radiators, gun rings, insulation and hydraulics parts.

In December, British company Supacat opened a vehicle engineering design and analysis facility in Australia as part of its contract to produce a special operations vehicle for the army.

The Supacat facility in Melbourne employs 18 design, analysis and systems engineers.

Supacat was selected last year to develop a prototype vehicle for the Special Operations Vehicle -- Direct Action requirement under Project JP2097 Phase 1B. The prototype will establish capability options for Second Pass project approval by the government and final design of the vehicle.


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Netherlands, Germany move to enhance military cooperation
Berlin (UPI) May 30, 2013
The Netherlands and Germany have agreed on an "extensive" cooperation of their military forces, the countries' defense ministers announced this week. Dutch Defense Minister Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert and German counterpart Thomas de Maiziere revealed Tuesday at the Berlin Strategy Conference the two countries will expand military cooperation, including the integration of the Netherlands ... read more

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