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MoD pledges greener buying

First step - low-energy radar

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Secretary of State for Defence John Hutton and defence biz execs yesterday signed a Sustainable Procurement Charter intended to make the UK's military-industrial complex more green.

The voluntary charter commits the MoD and its suppliers to work together to achieve sustainable development goals through "educating the supply chain, developing performance measures and sharing best practice".

Hutton said: "The charter is a very powerful statement of intent, setting out what we expect and what industry can expect from us. The aim is that our procurement processes become greener, more sustainable and provide even better value for money."

Director of the Sustainable Procurement Programme, Duncan McDonald, said:

"The MoD is working in partnership with suppliers and trade associations to ensure that the needs of our troops on the front line are met by delivering sustainable solutions. An example of this is 'Green Commander Fleet Radar Programme' which includes eco-design principles to reduce resource use, increase use of recycled materials, and minimize repair miles."

The Green Commander radar is a programme intended to sort out some of radars fitted in Royal Navy frigates, which aren't much cop at the moment. Apparently it will be the first naval radar designed on sustainability principles. The programme will include "energy benchmarking of the radars to determine energy footprint with a view to setting energy targets for new radar equipment".

Thus far a typical energy target for a new active radar has been to get as powerful a beam as possible, so as to increase range and ability to deal with jamming. The latest generation of American radars are so powerful, and so able to tightly focus their beams, that they are said to be almost energy weapons in their own right - not able to burn things or explode them, perhaps, but quite capable of inducing unintended currents in enemy circuitry, or perhaps even blowing out sensitive components.

Apparently there will now be a three-star officer (of Lieutenant-General, Air Marshal or Vice-Admiral rank) designated as "Sustainable Procurement Champion" in the MoD. ®

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