BAE Systems names its top ship repair suppliers for 2020

BAE Systems celebrated its best suppliers and subcontractors during its first ever ‘Partner2Win’ Supplier awards for its Ship Repair business.

In a virtual ceremony, BAE Systems Ship Repair recognised 112 suppliers that achieved outstanding results last year in key areas including overcoming COVID-19 challenges, exceeding quality metrics, and achieving the best cost-reward relationships.

The awards were based upon BAE Systems’ ‘Partner2Win’ program, a collaborative partnership between the company’s shipyards in Jacksonville, Florida; Norfolk, Virginia; and San Diego, California; and a vast network of Naval and commercial ship repair suppliers.

Paul Smith, Vice President and General Manager of BAE Systems Ship Repair, said: “Our relationship with our suppliers has always been significant and important for the completion of our ship repair work.

“Communication and completion of our joint obligations, in the midst of a pandemic, was integral to success last year. I thank all of our supply chain partners and recognise those who have won our first-ever ‘Partner2Win’ Supplier Awards.”

While this ‘Partner2Win’ symposium was the first in the area of ship repair and modernisation, the symposium has been held in other business areas of BAE Systems for years.

This year’s top ship repair supplier awards went to:

  • NSC Technologies of Portsmouth, Virginia,
  • Vallen Distribution of Belmont, North Carolina.
  • NSC Technologies, a shipyard staffing and recruiting company, is the subcontractor of the year for Ship Repair. NSC provides the temporary workers that allow the shipyards to adapt to workload demands and focus on their core shipyard competencies.
  • Vallen Distribution, an indirect materials distributor, is the Maintenance, Repair and Operations Supplier of the Year. Vallen was a reliable and trusted partner in 2020, delivering items timely to the Company’s shipyards.

Forty-nine gold, 42 silver and 21 bronze awards were presented during the ceremony. The following companies were recognized with NSC Technologies and Vallen Distribution as stand-out gold award winners:

  • BAE Systems Jacksonville Ship Repair’s Subcontractor of the Year – East Coast Repair & Fabrication, LLC of Chesapeake, Virginia
  • BAE Systems Norfolk Ship Repair Subcontractor of the Year – Central Radio Company, Inc. of Norfolk, Virginia
  • BAE Systems San Diego Ship Repair Subcontractor of the Year – Pacific Tank Cleaning, LLC of Chula Vista, California
  • COVID-19 PPE Supplier of the Year – Advantage Promotions, LLC of Boonton, New Jersey
  • Original Equipment Manufacturer of the Year – Fairbanks Morse, LLC of Beloit, Wisconsin
  • Small Business Subcontractor of the Year – Collins Machine Works of Portsmouth, Virginia
  • Veteran-Owned Small Business Subcontractor of the Year – Bay Metals and Fabrication, LLC of Chesapeake, Virginia
image courtesy of BAE Systems

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Government sets out plans to protect public places from terrorist attacks

The government has set out its proposals on a new Protect Duty; a legal requirement for public places to ensure preparedness for and protection from terrorist attacks.

The Protect Duty delivers on a manifesto commitment to improve the safety and security of public venues and spaces, drawing on lessons learned from previous terrorist incidents.

The proposals have been championed by victims’ groups, including the Martyn’s Law campaign which was established by Figen Murray, who tragically lost her son, Martyn, in the Manchester Arena attack in 2017.

Home Secretary Priti Patel said: “I have heard first hand from those who have sadly lost loved ones in horrific terror attacks, and thank them for their tireless work to ensure others do not share their tragedy.

“This Government has already taken significant steps to amend our powers and strengthen the tools for dealing with the developing terrorist threats we face, and we will always take the strongest possible action to protect our national security.

“That is why we want all organisations responsible for public venues and spaces to put public safety and security first.”

Figen Murray, the mother of Martyn Hett, one of the 22 victims of the Manchester Arena attack said: “Today is a major stride towards making our country safer from terror attacks. I want to thank the government for taking this step. To make Martyn’s Law a reality is of huge relief and I look forward to making a lasting difference with all of those who have supported it.”

A spokesperson on behalf of the Counter Terrorism Policing Business Independent Advisory Group and Counter Terrorism Business Information Exchange said: “The Counter Terrorism Policing Business Independent Advisory Group and Counter Terrorism Business Information Exchange welcome this consultation initiative.

“It is in the public interest for the Government and business to work together to ensure people are as protected as possible when visiting venues, retail areas and other publicly accessible spaces. This initiative gives us an opportunity to make sure that we are doing all we can to keep people safe.

“We look forward to collaborating with the Government, in order to provide the public with the best possible protection against those who wish us harm.”

The consultation will run for 18 weeks and will seek the views on:

  • who the Duty should apply to;
  • what it will require stakeholders to do;
  • how compliance should work; and
  • how the Government can support those in scope.

Whilst subject to consultation, the intention is that the Duty would apply to specified owners and operators of public venues, large organisations and those responsible for public spaces.

It would require those in scope to consider terrorist threats, and consider and implement appropriate and proportionate protective security and organisational preparedness measures.

The government also continues to engage with a range of businesses and industries to encourage them to adopt best practice, as well as working alongside Counter Terrorism Police and the Centre for the Protection of National Infrastructure (CPNI) to extend the reach of appropriate advice, guidance and training across all sectors.

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DPRTE partner DIO delivers £70m British Army facility in Kenya

Official DPRTE 2021 event partner, the Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) has delivered a new headquarters and training facility at Laikipia Air Base East in Kenya.

Nyati Barracks, a £70-million facility, was built for the British Army Training Unit Kenya (BATUK) to replace their previous infrastructure.

Facilities at the new site include a new training headquarters, welfare facilities, 158 Single Living Accommodation and 1,400 transit accommodation bed spaces, a combined mess, a finance building, offices, stores and Joint Forces Enabling Exercise buildings which enable the Royal Engineers to undertake vital training in the construction of permanent infrastructure.

Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Kenya is one of our leading defence partners in East Africa and this new facility will cement our partnership for decades to come, supporting stability and security in the region.

“It is only right we provide our personnel stationed overseas with high-quality accommodation and I was delighted to attend the opening of Nyati Barracks.”

The programme provided approximately 400 jobs for Locally Employed Civilians and local contractors and included around 30 women working in traditionally male dominated trades, including electrical and plastering work.

To ensure all employees were operating in a safe environment, DIO worked closely with local authorities and supply chains to introduce UK certified health and safety practices.

A major programme of upskilling for Kenyan staff at the base also took place enabling the transfer of skills into the local community and assisting workers with future employment.

David Graham, Deputy Head Major Programmes and Projects, said: DIO supports our armed forces by providing what they need to live, work and train and we are proud to have been a part of delivering this superb new facility in Kenya.

“The programme was a testing one with seasonal rains and other challenges. However, together with our Overseas and Training Region colleagues we overcame these issues and have delivered a first-class facility that will benefit the army.”

Our training unit in Kenya is a vital facility where UK soldiers prepare for operations around the globe. The UK currently has around 230 military personnel based permanently in Kenya, most of them at BATUK, with thousands more visiting the country every year to take part in joint exercises.

Over the past two years, the British Army and the Kenyan Defence Force have conducted 5 joint training exercises from BATUK, involving around 600 Kenyan troops and 4,500 British troops.

Lieutenant Colonel Finlay Bibby, Commander Kenya, Overseas and Training Region said: “BATUK delivers combined arms light role infantry battle group exercises in Kenya.

“It is fantastic to have this new, purpose-built infrastructure that enables BATUK to deliver world class training to our battle groups here in Kenya. For many years we were renting land from the Nanyuki Agricultural Society, which had to be vacated every year for the agricultural show.

“The new facilities at Nyati Barracks are permanent and will enable a significant increase in training capability and provide more secure facilities for the army to train.”

image © MOD Crown Copyright 2021

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WFEL now sole bidder for UK MoD’s military bridging project

The withdrawal of a second contender to supply both Armoured and Tactical Bridging Systems for the British Army’s TYRO project, means that UK military bridge designer and manufacturer WFEL is now the sole bidder.

Project TYRO aims to provide UK Heavy Forces with Close Support Bridge (CSB) and General Support Bridge (GSB) capabilities for the British Army’s Royal Engineers (RE) to cross wet and dry gaps, both on the battlefield and in emergency and disaster relief situations.

The TYRO requirements are for Close Support Bridges (CSB) to be deployed, launched and recovered from armoured vehicles (AVLB) and a wheeled launcher (WVLB) and for the General Support Bridges (GSB) to be self-deployed, providing MLC 100 (Tracked) capability in order to support unrestricted crossing by UK Heavy Forces.

The Assessment Phase (AP) of Project TYRO has already been successfully completed by WFEL, with the Invitation to Negotiate (ITN) being issued in September 2020. Negotiations for the Demonstration & Manufacture phase will now commence in the summer of 2021.

The bridging solutions offered by WFEL include the DSB Dry Support Bridge – which can be fully deployed by only eight people and a single launch vehicle in under 90 minutes – for the GSB requirement; to meet the CSB requirement, WFEL offers KMW’s LEGUAN Bridge. The LEGUAN’s fully automatic, horizontal bridge-laying capability provides increased stealth with a low silhouette during a five-minute bridge launch and will be adapted to be launched and recovered from the MoD’s already in-service TITAN armoured bridge launchers and a new wheeled bridge launcher.

The TYRO Assessment Phase saw WFEL carrying out comprehensive stress and fatigue testing, to verify MLC ratings and life expectancy of the different bridge types and also allowing WFEL to incorporate future Bridge Fatigue Management Systems.

WFEL and KMW extensively demonstrated the capabilities of their mobile bridging systems against MoD user requirements, with particular emphasis on the systems’ load carrying capability and overall durability.

image courtesy of WFEL

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£180m Army vehicle contract to support 700 Glasgow jobs

A £180 million contract to deliver cutting edge threat detection technology for the British Army’s new Boxer vehicles will support hundreds of jobs in Glasgow, it has been announced.

The 10-year Remote Weapons Stations (RWS) contract will protect over 700 jobs at Thales UK’s Glasgow site while supporting 30 apprenticeships.

It uses a 360 degree high definition long range cameras attached to the outside of the vehicle to scan for enemy threats, even when Boxer is moving at speed. The RWS then alerts soldiers inside the armoured Boxer through a digital display – so they can keep a permanent watch outside while remaining safely inside the vehicle.

The system also offers key defensive capabilities, including a multi-barrel smoke grenade launcher, thermal imaging, and infra-red pointers.

Defence last year secured a substantial settlement of more than £24 billion over four years to modernise the Armed Forces to meet the threats of the future and support British across the Union.

Minister for Scotland, Iain Stewart said: “We look forward to working with Thales UK on the delivery of these Remote Weapons Stations, knowing this contract will not only contribute to the safety of British military personnel on the front line, but also support industry growth here in Scotland.

“Protecting hundreds of jobs and supporting 30 apprenticeships, this £180 million UK Government investment further demonstrates our commitment to supporting the defence sector in Scotland and underscores the many opportunities available within the United Kingdom economy.”

Minister of State for Defence, Baroness Goldie said: “This £180m contract with Thales UK will deliver pioneering surveillance and protection for our front line soldiers and our new Boxer fleet. We depend on skills and technology from across the United Kingdom and this order will secure 700 Scottish jobs.

“Our troops face a myriad of new and emerging threats so it is imperative we invest in critical detect and destroy technology such as this.”

Following the sonar contract for Dreadnought submarines last year, this is Thales UK’s second multi-million-pound contract within 12 months, further showcasing the government’s commitment to levelling-up across the UK.

DE&S Director Land Equipment, Major General Darren Crook said: “This is another significant step forward for Boxer and I am delighted to see the different threads of the programme coming together. This is a military capability of the future to be proud of.”

The UK re-joined the Boxer programme in 2018 and has committed £2.8 billion to deliver over 500 vehicles to the British Army. The first vehicles are scheduled to be ready for service in 2023.

Steven Lockley, Managing Director of Thales in the UK’s vehicle integration business in Glasgow, said: “Thales’ sub-contract is a great step forward after months of hard work. Working with our strategic partners, Thales is bringing new skills and technologies into the programme, our facilities in Scotland and the UK supply chain.”

image from Shutterstock

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New report reveals UK’s cyber security sector worth £8.9 billion

The UK’s growing cyber industry attracted record investment last year despite the global pandemic, according to a new government report.

With Covid-19 forcing more business and social activity online, the new figures reveal an increase in the number of cyber security companies and people working for them, as the government continues its drive to build back safer from the pandemic.

The DCMS Annual Cyber Sector Report, which tracks the UK’s cyber security industry across a range of indicators between April 2019 and December 2020, reveals a 21 per cent increase in firms operating in the field, bringing the total number to 1,483.

There was a nine per cent rise in employment in the industry with more than 3,800 new full time jobs created, bringing the total number of people working in the sector to 46,683.

The sector is now worth an estimated £8.9 billion, with a record £800 million of investment raised by firms.

Digital Minister Matt Warman announced the findings at a CyberASAP event, which gives UK researchers the opportunity to showcase their innovative new cyber security products to potential buyers.

Mr Warman said: “The need for cutting-edge cyber security has never been greater and this resilient sector is growing, diversifying and solidifying its status as a jewel in the UK’s tech crown.

“With more than 3,800 new jobs created, firms – large and small – are doing vital work keeping people and businesses secure online so we can build back safer from the pandemic.

I am committed to supporting the industry to reach new heights, create more jobs and lead new innovations in this field.”

The main findings from the report are:

  • Despite the current economic climate, 2020 was a new record year for cyber security investment with UK cyber security businesses raising over £821 million across 73 deals – more than twice that raised in 2019
  • The sector’s total annual revenue has continued to rise (by 7 per cent), reaching £8.9 billion within the most recent financial year
  • The sector contributed more than £4 billion to the economy – up 6 per cent in the last year, with mainly mature firms driving growth
  • The majority (65 per cent) of the 46,683 cyber workforce are employed by large firms (250+ employees).

This year’s survey also suggests that more than half of firms (54 per cent) are now based outside of London and the South East, with cyber security clusters flourishing across the country in areas such as Scotland, Northern Ireland and North West England.

The most commonly provided cyber security products and services include cyber professional services, threat intelligence, monitoring, detection and analysis. The research highlights particular growth in firms offering solutions for industrial control systems and IoT security, demonstrating the sector’s ability to adapt and meet emerging challenges, such as the need to secure smart cities.

The data reveals that while nine in ten companies (89 per cent) felt Covid-19 had impacted their business, many of these firms have quickly adjusted and innovated within the current economic climate.

Despite some firms in the sector feeling the pressure, many have still found the capacity to offer vital technical support to the NHS, and other critical national services, sometimes on a pro-bono basis.

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UK and Australia collaborate to accelerate advanced materials integration

The UK and Australian governments are funding innovative proposals to integrate advanced materials into military platforms such as armoured vehicles.

Defence research and development ties between the UK and Australia have been strengthened further under a bilateral international program to accelerate the integration of advanced materials into military platforms.

Nine teams of partners across both nations have received Phase 2 funding worth a total of £1.48 million (A$2.82 million) from the UK and Australian governments to develop innovative proposals covering integration of composites, adhesives for structural joining, joining high temperature structures and improving armour systems.

In the UK successful consortia are:

  • Foresight Innovations Limited, Hephaestus Consulting, Nottingham Trent University and Matrix Composites
  • TWI Limited
  • University of Surrey and QinetiQ
  • Zentraxa Limited and QinetiQ Australia

Successful Australian teams are:

  • Western Sydney University, Imperial College London, Metrologi Pty Ltd, UNSW and AirBus Australia Pacific
  • Qinetiq Australia Pty Ltd and RMIT
  • University of New South Wales, Imperial College London, Advanced Composite Structures Australia Pty Ltd
  • University of Adelaide, Research Institute of Saint-Louis (ISL – France) and Materials Science Institute
  • RMIT University and BAE Systems Pty Ltd

This program is jointly funded by the Australian Next Generation Technologies Fund run by DST Group; and the Ministry of Defence Materials for Strategic Advantage programme in the UK.

Both nations used a common assessment framework managed by the UK’s Defence and Security Accelerator (DASA). Assessment and Moderation of the competition was carried out collaboratively by Dstl (Defence Science and Technology Laboratory) in the UK and DST Group in Australia.

The UK’s Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin MP, said: “The UK and Australia have an enduring defence relationship. As we take on a range of new challenges, I am delighted we will be working together to ensure our personnel are armed with the most advanced technologies.

“These joint challenge projects represent both countries’ innovative visions for the future, whilst supporting our academic and industry partners.”

Australian Minister for Defence Industry, Melissa Price, said the joint research proposals demonstrated the close practical cooperation between defence industry and universities across Australia and the UK.

“These joint challenge projects have not only strengthened our bilateral defence relationship but provide support to each country’s respective defence industries to overcome capability challenges we face.

“Academic and industry partners are vitally important to both defence forces. Through the Next Generation Technologies Fund the Australian Government is committed to providing the best capability possible to the men and women who serve our nation.”

The Joint Effort gives both nations access to international research using a total pooled fund of around £2.52 million (cA$4.79 million) from the two phases of the competition so far. Across the themes, individual proposals were also chosen to support mutual reliance with one nation taking the lead. The new projects start in the financial year 2020/21 and run for up to two years.

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France selects Airbus fixed-wing UAS to equip its ships

Airbus Defence and Space mini UAS subsidiary SURVEY Copter has signed a contract with French DGA Armament general directorate to provide the French Navy with 11 systems, (22 aircraft), of the electrically powered fixed-wing Aliaca maritime version UAS, including training and integrated logistic support.

The Aliaca maritime UAS is a high endurance versatile system allowing up to 3 hours missions over a 50 km (27 Nm) range, perfectly adapted to maritime missions with high gyro stabilised EO/IR payload performances and qualified to operate in severe environmental conditions. Launched by catapult, the Aliaca maritime UAS concludes its flight by landing automatically using a dedicated net landing solution.

With a length of 2,2m and a wingspan of 3,6m for a maximum take-off weight of 16 kg, the Aliaca maritime UAS benefits from a powerful yet silent electric motor. The system can be deployed easily and rapidly in less than 15 minutes by 2 operators only.

Similarly, the “user-friendly” ground control station enables the operator to constantly monitor the automatic flight of the UAS while receiving in real-time day and night images and AIS (Automatic Identification System) data gathered by its on-board sensors.

It is designed to conduct several types of missions around the ships, including increasing the understanding of the tactical situation, control of illegal operations at sea, search-and-rescue, traffic monitoring, pollution detection, tracking of any suspicious behaviour in the ship environment and coastal surveillance.

This light on-board aerial solution gives the opportunity to vessels, traditionally not equipped with aerial assets, to enhance their tactical ISR capabilities, support decision making and reactivity in operations.

The Aliaca maritime UAS can easily be integrated on board any ships, with or without helicopter landing-deck, and its small logistic footprint enables operations and storage on board smaller sized ships. Its integration does not require heavy on-board modification nor storage of specific fuel.

Nicolas Askamp, Head of Survey Copter / Airbus Unmanned Aerial Systems, said: “We are honoured to contribute to the missions of the French Navy which we will support with the highest standards of quality and reliability. This new contract strengthens SURVEY Copter’s position as a global key player for maritime mini UAS.”

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US Marine Corps awards BAE Systems $184 million for additional ACVs

BAE Systems has secured a $184 million contract option from the US Marine Corps for more Amphibious Combat Vehicles (ACV) under full-rate production.

The contract from the US Marine Corps will cover production, fielding, and support costs for the ACV personnel carrier (ACV-P) variant. BAE Systems was awarded the first full-rate production contract option in December for the first 36 vehicles. This option on that contract increases the total number of vehicles under full-rate production to 72, for a total value of $366 million.

The ACV is a highly mobile, survivable, and adaptable platform for conducting rapid ship-to-shore operations and brings enhanced combat power to the battlefield. BAE Systems is under contract to deliver two variants to the US Marine Corps under the ACV Family of Vehicles program: the ACV-P and the ACV command variant (ACV-C). A 30mm cannon (ACV-30) is currently under contract for design and development and a recovery variant (ACV-R) is also planned.

The US Marine Corps selected BAE Systems along with teammate Iveco Defence Vehicles for the ACV program in 2018 to replace its legacy fleet of Assault Amphibious Vehicles (AAV), also built by BAE Systems. BAE Systems was also recently awarded an indefinite delivery indefinite quantity (IDIQ) contract worth up to $77 million for the ACV program that includes the provision of spare and replacement parts, testing equipment, and other services.

ACV production and support is taking place at BAE Systems locations in Stafford, Virginia; San Jose, California; Sterling Heights, Michigan; Aiken, South Carolina; and York, Pennsylvania.

John Swift, Director of amphibious programs at BAE Systems, said: “The exercising of this option validates years of teamwork in partnership with the Marines to provide the most adaptable amphibious vehicle possible to meet their expeditionary needs.  

“The ACV was designed to meet the Marines’ needs of today while allowing for growth to meet future mission role requirements.”

image courtesy of BAE Systems

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ABL Space Systems rocket to power first UK vertical satellite launch

Lockheed Martin has contracted ABL Space Systems to supply a rocket and associated launch services for the company’s first UK vertical satellite launch.

The project known as UK Pathfinder Launch is planned to be the first ever vertical small satellite launch from UK soil, from Scotland in 2022. It will also be the first UK commercial launch for US-based ABL Space Systems’ new RS1 rocket.

Nik Smith, Regional Director, Lockheed Martin Space, said: “We are absolutely committed to the success of this programme and the world class capability that ABL Space Systems brings will allow us to build on our long-standing partnership with the UK and strengthen the growth of the UK space sector, aligned to the UK Government’s prosperity and industrial strategy.”

ABL Space Systems’ flexible, integrated GSO launch system, and RS1 rocket, allows for a rapid and cost-effective deployment with outstanding launch performance.

“ABL Space Systems is proud to partner with Lockheed Martin on the UK Pathfinder Launch Program,” said Harry O’Hanley, co-Founder and CEO of ABL Space Systems. “Our team was founded to deliver new launch capabilities, on-demand. We’re thrilled at the opportunity bring our system to Shetland’s launch site and execute this ground-breaking mission with our partners.”

Lockheed Martin’s UK Pathfinder Launch supports the UK Space Agency’s commercial spaceflight programme – Launch UK. In October, the UK Space Agency confirmed Lockheed Martin’s plans to move its programme to the Shetland Space Centre and in January, planning proposals were submitted for the space launch facility in Unst.

Ian Annett, Deputy CEO, UK Space Agency said: “We want the UK to be the first in Europe to launch small satellites into orbit, attracting innovative businesses from all over the world, accelerating the development of new technologies and creating hundreds of high-skilled jobs across the whole of the UK. Lockheed Martin’s selection of ABL Space Systems for their UK Pathfinder launch brings us one step closer to realising this ambition – putting the UK firmly on the map as Europe’s leading small satellite launch destination.

“In this challenging time, it’s more important than ever that we support technologies that will help create jobs and economic growth, enabling people and businesses across the country to benefit from the commercial opportunities offered by the UK’s growing space sector and the many firms throughout its supply chain.”

The addition of ABL Space Systems as a partner completes Lockheed Martin’s UK Pathfinder Launch programme team. On launch day, ABL Space Systems’ RS1 rocket will lift off from Shetland Space Centre, in Unst, Shetland, the UK’s most northerly island. Once in orbit, the rocket will release a small launch orbital manoeuvring vehicle, an agile platform built by MOOG, in Reading, UK, which can carry and deploy up to six 6U CubeSats, optimising orbital placement and timing for each small satellite’s respective missions.

To demonstrate the full value of this new UK space transportation capability, two of the CubeSats deployed will be Lockheed Martin’s own technology demonstration spacecraft.

In 2019, ABL Space Systems announced that it had received a strategic investment from Lockheed Martin Ventures to advance the launch provider’s development and test programme.

image courtesy of Lockheed Martin

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