GEC-MARCONI'S PEGASUS bid for the Royal Air Force's conventional stand-off missile (CASOM) requirement, has become the first casualty in the competition, having been effectively eliminated by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD).

Although the company has received no formal notification from the MoD, senior-level unofficial channels appear to have been used to inform GEC of its position. Sources also indicate that GEC may have been encouraged to get more involved with other bidders. GEC declines to comment on its position in the competition.

The Pegasus is an extended-range variant of the GEC family of precision-guided munitions (PGM) for the United Arab Emirates (UAE), known as the Hakim. The PGM-1 is laser-guided, PGM-2 is television-guided, while PGM-3 is understood to be infra-red guided. More than 500 of the first two variants have already been produced, while more than 700 of the third have been built.

The PGM-4, or Centaur, is GEC's bid for the UAE's equivalent of the CASOM requirement and is broadly similar to the Pegasus. Losing in the UK will be a blow to GEC in the UAE, where it is competing with Matra, offering a derivative of the Apache.

GEC is already involved as a systems supplier in several of the other bids, including the McDonnell Douglas Grand Slam, and probably the BAe/Matra Storm Shadow.

Israel's Rafael, bidding with the Popeye Turbo, lacks an UK prime contractor and has previously approached GEC to discuss a potential link-up in a bid for the CASOM. GEC could also approach MDC, or Hughes. Hughes is teamed with Smiths Industries and Lucas in offering the AirHawk, but it has not ruled out adding additional team members.

Other bidders are Texas Instruments (teamed with Shorts), offering a powered variant of the Joint Stand-off Weapon, while Bofors/Daimler-Benz Aerospace is offering the Taurus system.

Source: Flight International