Department of the Army Historical Summary: FY 1990-1991


Modernizing and Equipping the Army

Modernization: Into the Post-Cold War Era

The Persian Gulf war in Southwest Asia served as both an end and a beginning for the Army's equipment and systems modernization programs. In one sense, the war was the ultimate proving ground for the equipment fielded during the Army's aggressive modernization program that began in the 1970s and reached fruition during the 1980s. The performance of the Army's equipment in the sands of Saudi Arabia was the test of the decisions that had been made when the Army, after emerging from the jungles of Southeast Asia, reconsidered the threat posed by the Warsaw Pact on the fields and in the forests of Central Europe. Even before all of the troops were withdrawn from Vietnam, the Army had initiated a wide-ranging re examination of its doctrine, force structure, and equipment. The demands of the Vietnam War had compelled the service to postpone its plans to modernize its forces. The Army's force structure was an amalgam of units, and most of its equipment was rooted in the 1950s.

As the Army reduced its size and began a reshaping process after Vietnam, the service's leadership realized that equipment and systems modernization needs could not be met all at once. Consequently, the Army projected its equipment needs for the next decade.

Five major pieces of equipment were identified as top priority-a main battle tank, an attack helicopter, a utility helicopter, an air defense missile, and an infantry fighting vehicle. This group of equipment, which became identified collectively as the "Big Five," constituted the centerpiece of Army modernization throughout the 1970s and 1980s. Guided by the specific need to develop, test, and field weapons and technologies to offset the threat from the Warsaw Pact, the Army in the 1980s underwent the largest peacetime modernization in its history; fielding a vast array of equipment, in addition to the Big Five. This equipment ranged from tanks to mobile kitchen trailers to helmets, and modernization occurred in both the active and the reserve components.

When the President directed the deployment of Army active and reserve forces to Southwest Asia in August 1990, these forces were armed


with the weapons and equipment developed during the last decade and a half. The lead brigade of the 82d Airborne Division deployed with AH-64 Apache helicopters, and Abrams M1 tanks and M2/M3 Bradley fighting vehicles were on board the ships that carried the 24th Infantry Division's equipment to Southwest Asia. Following in the wake were Patriot air defense system launchers from Fort Bliss, Texas, and the UH-60 Black Hawks of the 101st Airborne Division (Air Assault). In Saudi Arabia, Kuwait, and Iraq the plans, policies, and procedures that guided the development and fielding of this equipment and many other types were tested in combat. The Persian Gulf war validated-some in part, others more fully-the ideas, concepts, and hardware that had modernized the Army during the 1970s and 1980s.

The performance of Army equipment in Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM also established a foundation for the future. Like the Yom Kippur War of 1973, the Persian Gulf war did much to define the lethality and dynamics of the future battlefield. The Gulf war provided the Army with a performance baseline from which it could delineate further its future requirements and develop and field equipment to meet them. This baseline would be of critical importance for the Army's development of its modeling, designs, and simulations in the 1990s and beyond.

By the late 1980s the Army had begun adapting to budget reductions, with significant implications for the service's future modernization objectives. The rapid disintegration of the Warsaw Pact and the Soviet Union removed a main pillar of the rationale that had supported large-scale defense spending. Lack of a specific "threat" and the desire for a "peace dividend" accelerated cuts in the Army's budget, which had been decreasing both in absolute terms and as a percentage of defense appropriations. Army decisionmakers were faced with difficult choices to ensure the most efficient use of the money appropriated. In addition, the Army's general modernization program was nearing completion. The Army would enter the twenty-first century armed largely with the equipment developed and fielded during the last quarter of the twentieth century.

In FY 89 the Army received $14.8 billion for procurement, but by FY 91 the service's procurement had been cut to $9.0 billion. (Offsetting somewhat the decrease in procurement funds, the amounts for research and development increased slightly.) By the end of FY 91 the situation had reached the point at which Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition Steven K. Conver warned that "Army modernization efforts are severely curtailed by constrained resources" and that "our procurement funding is dangerously low." Because of the lack of funds, he declared, the Army was "at a crossroads.... Time and technology do not stand still. Tomorrow's battlefield will see increased firepower, better armor protection, and more advanced target acquisition sys-


tems." In Mr. Conver's opinion, the key to success on the future battlefield would be "the tough modernization decisions we make today."

To adapt to the austere budgets, the Army developed a new modernization strategy. Recognizing that the total force could not be modernized all at the same time, the Army, in the late 1980s, embraced a strategy of modernizing by thirds. In practice, this meant that initial procurement of the most modern equipment would be fielded in the Army's forward-deployed and early deploying CONUS units, which included both the active and reserve components. The equipment displaced from the first group of units would be fielded to the second group, and displaced equipment of the second group would be assigned to the third. The Army believed that adoption of this strategy would allow a reasonably efficient stream of modernization within the force in view of limited procurement funds that would likely become even more restricted in the 1990s.

The major modernization programs of the 1970s and 1980s and fielding of the Big Five were nearing completion. By the end of 1991 the Army contained over 100 battalion/squadron sets of Abrams M1 tanks, 69 battalion sets of Bradley fighting vehicles, 13 battalion equivalents of the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS), 26 AH-64 attack helicopter battalions, and 12 Patriot air defense system battalions. In FY 91 the Army concluded that it was necessary to accept some risk over the near term and midterm to protect future modernization and the technology base, which meant modernizing only the most essential warfighting capabilities in the near term. To guide its modernization strategy, the Army established six principles:

-The most modern equipment must be put in the hands of those first to fight.

-Future weapon systems must possess the lethality to defeat the enemy while maximizing soldier and system survivability.

-New or enhanced capabilities must be fielded faster than those of potential opponents.

-Systems must be designed with future modernization potential.

-Modernization must be affordable, and to ensure affordability, the force will modernize by one-third increments.

-New systems should require minimal new equipment training for soldiers, should be reliable, and should be simple to operate and maintain in combat.

To guide its modernization efforts, the Army developed a coordinated series of plans for a twenty- to thirty-year period. These plans looked at both the Army's broad needs and specific functional mission areas. The mission areas addressed the general technology base, heavy and light forces, and all aspects of the operational environment (close, deep, rear). The Army used the mission area plans to produce documents that guided


and coordinated modernization between and within functional areas. Specific mission areas for which plans were developed or planning was initiated included the Army's technology base, armored systems, armor-antiarmor, aviation, air defense, close air support, command and control, intelligence and electronic warfare, fire support, tactical wheeled vehicles, ammunition, material-handling equipment, and soldier support.

The Army had published the first version of its technology base plan-the Army Technology Base Master Plan (ATBMP)-in early 1989. This initial version reflected the Cold War mentality and projected the needs of the Army's technological base in terms of the Soviet threat. An updated ATBMP provided a comprehensive blueprint that outlined the Army's technology base investment strategy. The investment strategy was designed to meet the Army's future requirements in an era with an unspecified threat and constrained budgets. The technology base program included research, exploratory development, and nonsystem-specific advanced development. In the process, the Army intended to exploit mature and emerging technologies to meet the service's future equipment needs.

An important aspect of the ATBMP was a new initiative called Advanced Technology Transition Demonstrations (ATTDs). ATTDs were designed to shorten the developmental cycle by identifying promising, high payoff products produced by the technology base, and moving these products expeditiously into demonstration/validation phases, full-scale development, and/or product improvement programs. ATTDs received special management attention within HQDA. This oversight was provided by the ATTD Senior Advisory Group (SAG), cochaired by the Deputy Assistant Secretary for Research and Technology, Office of the Assistant Secretary of the Army for Research, Development, and Acquisition (OASA[RDA]) and the Assistant Deputy Chief of Staff for Operations and Plans, Force Development. By March 1991 thirteen ATTDs had been approved. Some of the approved ATTDs and the applicable mission areas included AirLand Battle management (command and control), common chassis (armor/antiarmor), multirole survivable radar (air defense), soldier integrated protective ensemble (soldier support), and standoff mine detection (engineer and mine warfare). Modernization initiatives continued within each of the mission areas during FY 90 and 91, although budget constraints and shifting priorities slowed their pace and scope.

Armored Systems

Production of the Abrams M1 tank for the Army began in 1980, and by early 1991 almost 7,000 of the M1 and its upgrades, the M1A1 models, had been fielded. In support of Operation DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM more than 1,000 M1A1 tanks were fielded to those Army heavy


units previously deployed to Saudi Arabia without the M1A1. These units included the 1st and 24th Infantry Divisions (Mechanized), the 1st Cavalry Division, the 1st Armored Division, and the 3d Armored Cavalry regiment. In FY 90 the Army prepared to acquire material needed to produce the next variant of the Abrams, the M1A2. The M1A2 was originally scheduled to begin full-scale production in FY 92; however, a changing world situation and a diminished defense budget necessitated changes in the M1A2 program. The Army decided to limit the number of M1A2s to that which would prove the production line's ability to produce the tank efficiently, in case of future need. Once production capability was proven, no more M1 series tanks would be produced.

Rather than spend increasingly limited dollars on evolutionary improvements of the Abrams tank, the Army opted to take the limited short-term risk of not having enough M1s in the event of war. Instead, funds would be used to develop a more technologically advanced armored vehicle for the long term through the Armored Systems Modernization (ASM) plan. In the near term and midterm, the ASM plan outlined product improvements for application to the current fleet of combat vehicles. The ASM plan's second phase focused on modernizing all armored systems to maximize operational capabilities and interoperability. The key to this phase was the procurement of several vehicles developed to be built on similar chassis. For example, the ASM plan called for a common heavy chassis for the Block III tank, the Combat Mobility Vehicle (CMV), the Advanced Field Artillery System (AFAS), and the Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). In a similar case, the Armored Resupply Vehicle (ARV)- ammunition, and the Line-Of-Sight Antitank (LOSAT) vehicle would share a medium protection chassis.

During FY 90 and 91, production and fielding of infantry and cavalry fighting vehicles also continued. By March 1991 Bradley mechanized infantry and cavalry fighting vehicles had been fielded to forty-seven battalion- size units. Production and fielding also continued on the Army's older armored personnel carrier, the M113. Deliveries of the latest version, the M113A3, were scheduled for completion in FY 91. Because of the changing threat and a realignment of budget priorities, the Congress and the Office of the Secretary of Defense directed the Army to restructure the ASM program with AFAS and ARV as the lead systems. Block III, CMV, and IFV were deferred indefinitely; LOSAT was returned to the tech base.


The AH-64 Apache helicopter became the Army's primary attack helicopter in the 1980s. Production in quantity was initiated in 1982, and


fielding of the Apache to the active component began in 1986. By November 1990 the Army had received 629 of its planned 807 helicopters to equip 40 battalions. The autumn 1990 budget agreement between the Congress and the President, however, precipitated the Army's decision to terminate the Apache procurement program at the end of FY 91.

Another of the Army's major modernization initiatives was its next generation light helicopter (LH). The Army intended the LH to replace its aging fleet of observation helicopters, OH-6 and OH-58 A/C's, and the AH-1 attack helicopter. Army leadership claimed that, along with the ASM plan, the LH was a critical element in the Army's long-term modernization effort. In 1988 the LH was approved for competitive demonstration/ validation development phase. At the end of this phase, a single contractor would be selected to produce the LH. Two contractor teams, Boeing/Sikorsky and McDonnell Douglas/Bell, submitted proposals for a preliminary LH design. In April 1991 the Department of Defense awarded the contract to the Boeing/Sikorsky team for the production of a prototype LH for the demonstration/validation phase. This phase was projected to last fifty-two months. Its objectives included completion of aircraft design, production of a prototype, and execution of a flight test program. The new LH was named the Comanche.

Air and Missile Defense

Another important part of Army modernization is the Forward Area Air Defense System (FAADS) for the division area. The Sergeant York air defense gun system (DIVAD) was canceled in 1985 because the Army concluded that neither single nor multiple weapons acting independently could defeat the forward area air threat. FAADS has five components, and integrates complementary weapons, sensors, and a command and control architecture to provide maximum protection to divisions in combat. Line-of- sight-forward-heavy (LOS-F-H) is provided by an air defense antitank system (ADATS) that integrates electro-optic sensors, a search radar, and eight laser-beam-riding missiles on an armored tracked vehicle. The non-line-of-sight system consists of a Fiber-Optic-Guided Missile (FOG-M) mounted on a tactical wheeled vehicle. The Avenger missile system serves as the line-of-sight-rear (LOS-R) element. The Avenger has multiple Stinger missiles and a heavy machine gun mounted on a tactical wheeled vehicle. The command, control, and intelligence (C2I) module integrates, processes, and distributes aerial target information gathered from sensors. The final component of FAADS is the combined arms initiatives (CAI), which includes installation of air-to-air Stingers on the OH-58C/D helicopter, improved air defense sights for the Bradley fighting vehicle, and antihelicopter ammunition for tanks.


In developing FAADS, the Army decided to rely heavily on nondevelopment items (NDIs), which is the application of commercially developed products and product improvements. The strategy for acquiring FAADS included obtaining and distributing FAADS components as soon as they became available. Because of this approach, the development and distribution of FAADS components has not followed one schedule. The Martin Marietta ADATS, selected in 1987, was expected to enter full-scale production in FY 90, but reliability problems deferred a procurement decision until at least FY 92. In December 1988 Boeing Aerospace and Hughes Aircraft Missile Systems began full-scale development of the FOG-M, but the Army terminated this contract in January 1991 because of cost overruns. The Secretary of the Army approved Boeing Aerospace's Avenger as the standard item for the LOS-R component in February 1990. The Avenger went into full-scale production in April 1990 with a planned procurement of 1,779 units.

The Hawk and Patriot air and missile defense systems provide other forms of protection to Army units. Originally fielded in 1960, the Hawk is designed to provide air defense missile protection against low- to medium- altitude air attack. A product improvement program (PIP) for the Hawk that started in FY 89 and continued into FY 90 will give the Hawk a low-altitude, simultaneous engagement capability and enhanced electronic counter-countermeasures. A cooperative program between the Army, the Marine Corps, and the government of the Netherlands was initiated to enhance the system's mobility. The Army's Patriot air defense system is a medium- to high-altitude ballistic missile defense system. A mobile, all-weather system, the Patriot provides air and missile defense for the field army and vital military bases. By October 1991 the Army had deployed ten Patriot battalions-seven to Europe and three within CONUS. During FY 90 and 91 the Patriot's software was further upgraded to enhance its antitactical missile capability. The initial upgrade (PAC I) was completed in 1988, and the second (PAC II) was accelerated during the deployment for DESERT SHIELD. Thirty-five separate and additional software changes were also introduced for the Patriot system during the Persian Gulf war.

Fire Support

In the 1980s the Army investigated the implications of the massive numbers of Warsaw Pact artillery and the significantly smaller number possessed by the United States and its North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies in the event of a land war in Europe. Analysis revealed that artillery would provide 75 to 80 percent of the combat power of a Warsaw Pact main attack. Consequently, improvement


of the Army's artillery systems, especially those assigned to the heavy (armored and mechanized infantry) divisions that would fight in Europe, became of paramount concern. A 1988 Defense Science Board study, Countering Soviet Fire Support Systems, agreed with this analysis. The study recommended accelerated development and fielding of fire support systems and significant increases in the allocation of Department of Defense funds to boost research, development, and acquisition.

The Army's primary field artillery weapons system for its heavy divisions is the M109 howitzer, a self-propelled, 155-mm. howitzer first introduced in the 1960s. Although the M109 howitzer had been upgraded several times by the mid-1980s, after more than two decades of service, the Army decided to conduct another major upgrade. The howitzer improvement program (HIP) was initiated to incorporate new technology and an improved capability to counter the Warsaw Pact artillery threat. In February 1990 the HIP howitzer was designated the M109A6 and approved for low-rate production. Five months later it was officially named the Paladin. The Paladin's improvements included a new cannon with a 25 percent increase in maximum range to 30 kilometers, improved crew protection against artillery fragmentation and nuclear, biological, and chemical (NBC) hazards, automatic fire control, a position-locating device, SINCGARS radios, driver's night vision capability, and built-in test equipment. The Army planned to procure 824 Paladins, and production began in October 1991.

Another significant improvement in field artillery capabilities was provided by the Army tactical missile system (ATACMS). The ATACMS gives the operational (corps, army, and theater) commander a responsive, reliable, and survivable tool to fight the deep battle. Fired from the Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) launcher, the ATACMS is a conventional, surface-to-surface, semiguided missile. It has a dual capability warhead carrying either antipersonnel or antimaterial munitions. Low-rate initial production (LRIP) began in FY 89 and continued in FY 90. Production of 276 missiles was planned for FY 90 and 452 in FY 91. During FY 90 and 91 the Army completed fielding the AN/TPQ-36 and AN/TPQ-37 radars. These radars are the Army's counterbattery and countermortar detection systems that identify the location of enemy artillery, mortars, and rockets. In FY 90 modifications of the AN/TPQ-36 were made so that HMMWVs could move it. A self-survey capability was also added. Equipping of the first Army field unit with the modified radars was expected by the last quarter of FY 91.

The M119 is a lightweight 105-mm. howitzer developed by the United Kingdom and procured by the U.S. Army to replace M101A1 and M102 105-mm. howitzers in the Army's light divisions. The M119 uses standard 105-mm. ammunition and has a range of 14,300 meters. This range can be


extended to 19,500 meters with rocket-assisted projectiles. The 7th Infantry Division received the first M119s in December 1989. Completion of fielding of the M119 to U.S. Army light units was expected by late 1995.

Combat Support/Combat Service Support

The battlefield capabilities of heavy engineer units were modernized with fielding of the M9 Armored Combat Earthmover (ACE). The ACE is a tracked, lightly armored, earthmoving vehicle designed to move on the battlefield and withstand hostile fire. Its design allows it to accomplish a myriad of engineering tasks such as digging, dozing, hauling, scraping, and grading. ACE fielding began in late 1989 and was accelerated for units in Southwest Asia during November-December 1990. The Army's research and development community responded rapidly to another major need identified in Saudi Arabia. Three months after being asked to develop a mine rake that could clear a lane the width of a vehicle through a minefield without exploding the mines, AMC produced and tested a prototype. Models were fabricated at Letterkenney Army Depot and shipped to the Middle East in January 1991. Army units successfully used the rakes to penetrate Iraqi defenses in February 1991. The German government donated sixty M93 Fox NBC detector vehicles to the U.S. government for use in the Persian Gulf, fifty for Army units and ten for the Marine Corps. The M93 Fox is 6-wheeled, armored, NBC reconnaissance vehicle that performs sophisticated NBC detection tasks while in motion.

A vital component of the Army's peacetime and wartime sustainment capability is its fleet of tactical wheeled vehicles. The fleet is divided into three classes-light (less than 2½ tons), medium (2½ to 5 tons), and heavy (greater than 5 tons). Modernization of each of the three classes continued during FY 90 and 91. In August 1989 a new five-year contract was awarded for 33,000 HMMWVs, a light vehicle that is replacing the quarter-ton truck. Production of the HMMWVs began in March 1990. The workhorse of the Army's tactical mobility fleet is the medium truck. Increased operating costs and age, however, significantly affected the reliability and performance of the Army's fleet of medium trucks, especially the 2½-ton models. In 1988 three contracts were let to manufacturers for prototypes of 2½-ton trucks for competitive evaluation and testing.

A centerpiece of the Army's efforts to develop its family of heavy vehicles is the palletized loading system (PLS). The PLS is a 16½-ton tactical vehicle composed of a prime mover equipped with an onboard load/unload capability and a 16½-ton trailer. It is designed to perform line haul, local haul, unit resupply, and other logistical missions in support of mobile combat operations. After approval by the Defense Acquisition Board, a contract was signed in September 1990 with Oshkosh Truck for


2,700 of these vehicles and associated equipment under a LRIP schedule beginning in September 1991.

Reserve Components Modernization

The integration of the active and reserve components required by the Total Force policy extended to modernization activities. By FY 91 the Army aviation modernization plan had equipped two Army Reserve (USAR) aviation battalions with UH-60 Black Hawk helicopters. In July 1990 the Army approved the attack helicopter Company E concept for testing. Under this concept USAR attack helicopter companies would be augmented with an additional package of staff and sustainment personnel. The Reserve company would be collocated with an active component unit and use active component equipment for training. Other types of USAR units also received modern equipment during FY 90 and 91. The 100th Training Division acquired some M1 tanks during FY 90 and anticipated others because of active force reductions at Fort Knox, Kentucky. Medical units were issued the Minimum Essential Equipment for Training (MEET) sets as part of the Deployable Medical System (DEPMEDS). It was anticipated that forty-three MEET sets and one regional training set would be fielded to the Reserve by FY 91. Other systems fielded to USAR units included HMMWVs, M939 series 5-ton trucks, 9-mm. pistols, position azimuth determining systems (PADS), and mortar ballistic computers.

A key program that influenced Army National Guard (ARNG) modernization efforts was the equipment readiness program initiated in 1985. This program identified unit equipment needs and guided modernization activities to fill unit shortages. In FY 90 the Army planned to equip four ARNG tank units with Abrams M1 tanks. By the end of FY 91 Army officials anticipated that all Guard armor units would be equipped with either M1 or M60A3 thermal sight tanks, instead of M48A5s or M60/M60A1 tanks. The Army aviation modernization plan also included portions dedicated to the ARNG. Initial plans called for fielding of AH-64 Apache helicopters to fifteen Guard attack battalions and early fielding of the light helicopter, Comanche. These objectives were subsequently changed to fielding Apaches to twelve battalions and outfitting ten lift units with upgraded CH-47D Chinook medium lift helicopters. Among the efforts to modernize the Army's tactical wheeled vehicles was a program to replace the Guard's 212-ton and 5-ton gasoline truck engines with multifuel engines.

A continuing success story of reserve component modernization was the Dedicated Procurement Program (DPP). Congress established the DPP in 1981 to assist the reserve components in reaching their readiness goals. By 1991 the ARNG had committed over $1.6 billion of DPP funds


to correct unit equipment shortages. Similar actions were taken by the USAR. From FY 81 through FY 90 the Reserve's DPP was used to purchase more than 38,000 pieces of equipment at a cost of approximately $980 million. This equipment included 3,053 5-ton trucks, 2,656 semi-trailers, 649 VRC 12-series radios, 9,815 night vision devices, 22 improved TOW vehicles, and 785 other pieces of equipment.

The Army's Role in the Strategic Defense Initiative

The Army has the mission of providing the ground-based surface-to-air, air defense of the United States. Under this mandate, the Army has been conducting research into defense against ballistic missiles for more than thirty years. During FY 90 and 91 the Army's research and experimentation continued, but in January 1991 President Bush announced a plan to redefine and limit the scope of the Strategic Defense Initiative. The new plan, christened the Global Protection Against Limited Strikes (GPALS), was intended to provide a highly effective defense against limited strategic missile attacks.

Toward this end the Army planned and conducted experiments on free electron lasers, neutral particle beams, artificial intelligence, and neural networks. In January 1990 the Army conducted a test of the High Endoatmospheric Defense Interceptor Kinetic Integrated Technology Experiment (HEDI-KITE-1). The test was an initial examination of state-of-the-art ballistic missile defense technologies intended to provide the last layer of a defense system through the use of kinetic energy weapons to intercept missiles. In January 1991 the Exoatmospheric Reentry Vehicle Interceptor Subsystem (ERIS) successfully intercepted an intercontinental ballistic missile (ICBM). This event was particularly notable because the interceptor discerned the ICBM as the correct target even though the missile was accompanied by decoy s.

The Army in Space

The U.S. Army Space Command (ARSPACE) is the Army component of the U.S. Space Command. ARSPACE has responsibility for the ground portion of designated space systems and provides space systems support to operational forces in combat. In the Cold War's waning days ARSPACE initiated an intense program to develop an antisatellite system to counter Soviet capabilities and protect U.S. systems. In December 1989 the Defense Acquisition Board selected a ground-based antisatellite concept promoted by the Army, and the Army became the lead service for its development. The concept envisioned a ground-based kinetic antisatellite system capable of intercepting and destroying low earth-orbiting satellites.


In July 1990 the Army Space Council approved a research and development program for two tactical satellites intended to provide space capabilities to the tactical commander. One satellite was an all-weather, day and night intelligence system. The second satellite would provide the Army with an all-weather, 24-hour, antijam communications capability. This program was the first attempt by the Army since the early 1960s to provide Army-owned and Army-operated space systems to its commanders. During DESERT SHIELD/DESERT STORM, ARSPACE provided Global Positioning System (GPS) navigation, weather, and terrain support to commanders and units on the ground.


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Last updated 30 October 2003