Armed Forces on a Mission to Buy Tanks and Missiles Online

By Mclean, James | The Evening Standard (London, England), March 29, 2001 | Go to article overview

Armed Forces on a Mission to Buy Tanks and Missiles Online


Mclean, James, The Evening Standard (London, England)


Byline: JAMES MCLEAN

ORDERING weapons could soon be as easy as clicking a mouse for the British Government.

The Ministry of Defence is in final testing of a revolutionary online marketplace which will allow arms manufacturers to offer weaponry online to the Government.

The DECS - Defence Electronic Commerce Service - has been developed by about 20 global technology companies and will allow approved contractors to tender directly on requirements for tanks, artillery, missiles, weaponry and other supplies.

DECS, which will also allow defence contractors to work together on the design of new weapons systems, has passed initial tests and is attracting the attention of European allies.

They are looking to develop similar electronic tendering systems and talks are under way that could lead to a wider pan-European marketplace. The system is scheduled to go live in Britain in July.

"Everyone - the Germans, French, Swiss, Swedes, Norwegians and Dutch - is coming over to look at this, and the UK is by far the most advanced government in Europe in this area," said Mark Schennum, the head of global business-to-business marketplaces at Cap Gemini Ernst & Young, which helped design the system.

"Clearly, security is of the highest priority because you will be passing around things like Eurofighter drawings via this marketplace," he said.

Britain spent about [pound]23 billion on defence last year and that is set to increase to about [pound]25 billion by 2004, by which time it is expecting to have moved a quarter of its defence ordering on to the system. …

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