Procurement: January 29, 2004


The U.S. Department of Defense announced that it has selected 29 new projects and 26 previously continuing projects for the Foreign Comparative Testing (FCT) Program. This operation has been around since 1980, and deals with the problem of foreign military equipment being in demand by the troops, but Congress, and American manufacturers, being hostile to stuff not Made-in-the-U.S.A. The FCT has the money, and the technical experts, to evaluate foreign equipment and make a compelling case to Congress that a particular item is what it claims to be and would be a worthy addition to the U.S. arsenal. Every year, each of the services submits a list of items they want evaluated. The items can pass if they just save the government a lot of money. That is, if they do the same job as an American product, but do it a lot cheaper. In some cases, this compels the American manufacturer to lower their price or redesign their product. 

For example, items accepted for use in 2003 included; Improved battery cells from Canada, Expeditionary airfield light-duty mat system from France, Man-portable decontamination equipment from Germany, Skin and open wound decontamination from Canada, Multi-role anti-armor weapon ammunition upgrade from Sweden, 5.56 lightweight machine gun from Belgium, Mine-protected clearance vehicle from South Africa, Titanium-nitride erosion resistant coating for compressor blades from Russia/Canada.

Items that are continuing testing in 2004 include; 155mm ammunition from South Africa, Ballistic Armor for Pilots from Australia and better self-destruct fuzes for submunitions from Israel. 


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