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Shyu: In search of European defense solutions

PARIS -- The Army's top acquisition official traveled here to the Eurosatory international land warfare trade show to find ways to keep the U.S. industrial base afloat and deliver the Army's big ticket modernization programs.

Heidi Shyu arrived still awaiting her confirmation to officially take over as the assistant secretary of the Army for acquisition, logistics and technology. She has served as the acting director for more than a year now. Senior small arms reporter Matt Cox has the story over at KitUp! about Oklahoma Sen. Tom Coburn's hold on the confirmation and her response to questions about the extended wait.

Shyu walked the show floor here Monday and Tuesday, seeking international companies that Shyu said she would work to link with larger U.S. partners to leverage their technological advances and deliver them to the U.S. Army.

"All of our partners are looking for opportunities to collaborate and walking around, I was able to see what our international partners are doing and there are some really innovative technologies," Shyu said. "A lot of the European companies are reaching out to US companies to latch up for opportunities."

The U.S. Army's top weapons buyer draws a crowd at any international defense trade show. Shyu took notice of the many international companies developing similar technologies to the many ongoing development programs in the U.S. Germany and France are developing soldier systems program that looks a lot like the communications system U.S. Army engineers are testing at White Sands Missile Range, N.M.

Multiple U.S. and European defense companies also displayed their armored multi-purpose vehicles. BAE Systems unveiled their RG35  4x4 Super Cab prototype on Shyu's first day of walking the floor. Rheinmetall Defense and General Dynamics also displayed their versions of the AMPV.

"There are an awfully lot of companies doing similar types of technologies," Shyu said. "so it’s a great opportunity to figure out who has what and try to leverage that."

Shyu also has an eye on the U.S. industrial base. She said it's important for U.S. defense companies to continue to partake in the international markets and search for global growth.

Most, if not every, defense executive here has said the one area to seek that growth is the Middle East and North Africa. With each company focused on the same market, it has made those programs up for bid even more competitive. In that competition, Shyu sees potential to get more for the Army's money.

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