If the BAe partnership is successful, the vehicles would be built at the Vickers tank factory in Newcastle and would help safeguard thousands of jobs. BAe and Lockheed are in competition with a consortium comprising GKN and GEC of the UK and Raytheon and United Defense of the US. Contracts worth pounds 100m to develop demonstrator vehicles are due to be awarded to the two consortiums this December.
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BRITISH AEROSPACE yesterday launched its bid to win a pounds 3bn contract to develop a stealth-technology spy vehicle for the British and American armies. BAe has teamed up with Lockheed Martin of the US in the Sika International joint venture to develop the new armoured reconnaissance vehicle, which it claims will be virtually undetectable on the battlefield. The two armies require 1,350 vehicles and aim to bring them into service in 2007.