Qioptiq logo Raytheon

NEWS IN BRIEF

EUROPE

24 Oct 06. Germany will on Wednesday adopt the most radical restructuring of its military since 1945, turning the Bundeswehr into an international intervention force, according to an internal cabinet strategy paper obtained by the Financial Times. The paper, which will be endorsed at a special cabinet meeting in the defence ministry, is the product of a review – the first of its kind since 1994 – begun by Angela Merkel, chancellor, after she won office last November. It will see Germany’s military officially abandon its primary postwar task of defending the country’s borders in favour of a more robust role for German troops on international missions. The military’s most sensitive international deployment since the Second World War came this month when the German navy took control of patrolling Lebanese waters to stop weapons smugglers. The military has taken part in other international missions in Afghanistan and Kosovo, for example, but has largely avoided direct involvement in war zones. The 133-page strategy paper argues that the capacity of the Bundeswehr must be expanded to allow for the deployment of a total of 14,000 troops to five international missions simultaneously. This will be achieved by drawing troops previously deployed on national defence into units involved in staffing or supporting overseas missions. The Bundeswehr has about 250,000 military personnel, including about 50,000 conscripts. About 9,000 troops are currently overseas in Afghanistan, Kosovo, Congo and elsewhere. The paper confirms conscription will be retained. Henning Riecke, European security specialist at Berlin’s DGAP foreign policy institute, said the paper will “give German policymakers a way of handing increasing international pressure to join overseas missions”. (Source: FT.com)

24 Oct 06. The U.K. government is discussing with AgustaWestland the possibility of getting EH101 helicopters the Italian firm has already sold to Denmark, an Italian industrial source said. “AgustaWestland has been contacted by the U.K. government to coordinate the potential acquisition by the U.K. of six EH101 currently destined for Denmark,” the source said. The preliminary discussions with the manufacturer would hinge on talks the U.K. government previously confirmed are under way with the Danish government to acquire EH101s Denmark has purchased. The United Kingdom has an urgent requirement for such helicopters in Iraq and Afghanistan. (Source: Defense News)

24 Oct 06. U.K. MoD Wants Nuke Sub Costs Slashed 45%. Nuclear submarine designers in Britain have been told by the MoD to reduce the cost of building Astute-class boats by up to 45 percent if they want to make future acquisitions affordable. Rear Adm. Andrew Mathews, the MoD’s director general nuclear, is said to have issued the challenge to BAE Systems and its suppliers, saying he wanted to slash acquisition costs of the fourth boat in the program by 30 percent. By the sixth sub, he wants the reduction to amount to 45 percent. A significant part of BAE’s response has been to redesign the nuclear attack submarine’s combat system. The company reckons an industry team including Thales, QinetiQ and others will have cut the cost of the fourth boat by 55 percent when compared with the build-to-print system to be used on the third boat of the class. Development costs and production of the first three boats has been budgeted at £3.5bn ($6.5bn). (Source: Defense News)

24 Oct 06. France To Announce Nuke Sub. Barracuda May Steady European Naval Merger Progress. French naval consolidation will get a lift this week, when French Defense Minister Michèle Alliot-Marie is expected to announce that the government is sealing its plans for a €7bn to €8bn($8.8bn to $10.1bn) purchase of six Barracuda nuclear-powered attack submarines. The Délégation Générale pour l’Armement (DGA), the French military procurement office, is expected to order two subs for an average of €1.25bn apiece, with options for four m

Back to article list