BUDAPEST, Nov. 5, 2003 (PRIMEZONE) -- The Transatlantic Industrial Proposed Solution (TIPS) for the NATO alliance ground surveillance (AGS) program has successfully secured another two industry memoranda of understanding with the Czech Republic and Hungary industry associations in signing ceremonies on Nov. 3 and 4 respectively.

This is another significant step toward the realization of transatlantic cooperation between the NATO member states as these memoranda of understanding demonstrate the increasing support and acceptance for the TIPS mixed fleet solution for the NATO AGS program, and underscore the TIPS commitment to industrial participation.

The TIPS Industries are comprised of European Aeronautic Defence and Space Company (EADS), Galileo Avionica, General Dynamics Canada (GD Canada), Indra, Northrop Grumman and Thales.

Key members of Czech Republic industries including Jiri Hynek, president of the Association of the Defense Industry for the Czech Republic (AOP) met with TIPS industrial representatives in Prague for the symbolic ceremony on Nov. 3. At the meeting, which included high-ranking members representing different ministries, the Czech general staff and industry partners, Hynek expressed his gratitude to the TIPS Industries and expressed his enthusiasm for the future cooperation of 11 key industry players from the Czech Republic in the TIPS program.

"We have concluded that TIPS is the best solution for the NATO AGS requirement and is a true transatlantic program that will provide many industrial opportunities for our country," Hynek said. "The cost share for my country will be decided by the government, but I know, based on our industry's legacy and our most modern technologies, we will be able to contribute to the program in a significant way."

Hynek announced that the coordination of the work share and involvement of the Czech Industries in the project would be managed by MESIT pristoje spol. s.r.o., located in Uherske Hradiste.

In addition, Hungary's industries met with TIPS industrial representatives on Nov. 4 in Budapest to sign a memorandum of understanding with the coordinating company for Hungary Industries, the MOD ED, located in Budapest. The presence and welcoming address of Mr. Zambori Mihaly, under secretary of state for the Defense Ministry and the National Armament Director, reinstated the importance of the occasion for the Hungarian government, TIPS Industries, and NATO commitments. Dr. Tamas Rath, director of the Hungarian Technology Institute, expressed his enthusiasm for the TIPS mixed fleet and the long-term cooperation between the two parties.

"The AGS program and especially the proposal from the TIPS Industries for a mixed fleet of medium sized jets and high-altitude long-endurance unmanned aerial vehicles (HALE UAVs) is of great interest to Hungary and will be important to the NATO Response Force and NATO's future network enabled capabilities," said Dr. Rath. "TIPS represents true transatlantic cooperation between Europe and North America. We welcome the TIPS offer to re-use the high-end technologies that will be developed for NATO AGS and made available to us for our national systems as a participating nation. The Hungarian industry will contribute effectively to the program, so that NATO will have at its disposal the transformational capabilities that only TIPS will provide."

On behalf of the TIPS Industries, Hartmut Buhl, vice president and director of European Union and NATO policy at EADS, stated his satisfaction with these endorsements at a press conference in Budapest.

"The signing of these memoranda of understanding with TIPS industries reinforces the solidarity and the support of the Czech Republic and Hungary that was exhibited a year ago in the historical town of Prague during the NATO Prague Summit, and reinforces our commitment to full industrial participation," said Buhl. "The capabilities and legacy of the Czech and Hungarian armament industries will allow TIPS to offer meaningful work share to the region. Both industries will work in a project which will provide a transformational capability to NATO based on operationally proven systems, providing NATO with the lowest risk solution to the AGS requirement and an early NATO response force capability while meeting NATO's 2010 operational mandate."

A TIPS Industries spokesman said that additional national endorsements of the TIPS solution are expected, and further memoranda of understanding are planned in other NATO capitals in the coming days, leading up to the submittal of its study report to NATO later this month under the program's definition phase.

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The Transatlantic Proposed Solution (TIPS) is a transatlantic industrial response to provide NATO with an AGS core capability that meets NATO's staff requirements, is consistent with the North Atlantic Council's and Conference of National Armament Directors' decisions and supports NATO's transformational capabilities objectives.

The NATO AGS system will provide situational awareness through a shared common ground picture that will be available to NATO and national decision makers. TIPS presents the alliance with a core component for the NATO response force, providing a critical capability designed to meet its intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance and command and control requirements for the 21st century.

With revenues of EUR 30 billion (2002) and more than 100,000 employees, EADS is the largest aerospace and defence company in Europe and number two worldwide. EADS business, among other activities, comprises a wide experience on system integration for Intelligence Surveillance Reconnaissance (ISR) systems, and general command, control and communications.

Galileo Avionica embodies the avionics and airborne radar capabilities of Finmeccanica, Italy's largest high technologies company and national defense leader.

General Dynamics Canada is Canada's largest defense company with a global reputation for providing integrated mission solutions to land, sea and air systems.

Indra is the leading Spanish company in Information Technologies (IT) with a very active presence in the defence market: IT civil and defence applications, simulations and automatic test equipment, defense electronic systems, as well as the design, development, production, integration and application of complex defence programs.

Northrop Grumman Corporation is a $25 billion global defense company and the prime contractor for the E-8C Joint STARS and E-10A MC2A ground surveillance aircraft, the Global Hawk HALE UAV and the MP-RTIP radar program.

Thales is a world leader and front-runner in professional electronics in three key markets: Aerospace, Defence and Information Technology & Services. Thales Airborne Systems Business Group is a European leader for airborne mission systems, airborne radars, missile electronics and airborne, naval & ground electronic warfare systems.

  CONTACT: News Media Contacts:
EADS:
Stephanie Chalmers
stephanie.chalmers@sysde.eads.net
+49-731-392 7488

Galileo Avionica:
Mirta de Benedictis
debenedictis@finmeccanica.it
+39-0-64-1883719

GD Canada:
Suzanne Belanger
suzanne.belanger@gdcanada.com
+1-613-596-7059

Indra:
Susana Velasco
svelasco@indra.es
+34 91 480 9726

Northrop Grumman:
Jim Stratford
jim.stratford@ngc.com
+1-321-726-7526 or +1-321-626-5201

Thales:
Monique Navarra
monique.navarra@fr.thalesgroup.com
+33 1 3481 40 50