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15 Jul 18. Jobs boost as MoD plan for British fighter jet takes off. Ministers are set to unveil plans to build a new fighter jet tomorrow — in a move that will sustain thousands of jobs and continue more than a century of combat aircraft manufacturing. The commitment to develop a sixth-generation manned fighter is expected to be the highlight of defence secretary Gavin Williamson’s Combat Air Strategy, a blueprint for sustaining military aerospace design and manufacturing skills. The pledge will provide a boost for the defence industry on the first day of the Farnborough air show, which will be opened by Theresa May. Bosses have long argued that Britain must commit to a new fighter jet or risk losing a crucial industry. The move will sustain thousands of jobs in Lancashire, where BAE Systems builds the Eurofighter Typhoon. The defence giant will also display technologies designed for a sixth-generation fighter that would replace the Typhoon when it retires from service in the 2040s. These will include the ability to work alongside a swarm of drones and an advanced cockpit design. Williamson’s commitment represents a U-turn on government policy, although it is unclear how the aircraft will be funded, with the Ministry of Defence desperately short of cash. Developing a new plane could cost more than £10bn. For years, ministers have been ambivalent about whether Britain should design and build its own fighter jets, or simply make parts for US-built planes such as Lockheed Martin’s F-35. The last fully British-designed and built fighter was the Hawker Siddeley Harrier, the vertical take-off and landing jet developed in the 1960s. BAE builds the Typhoon at Warton in Lancashire with the Franco-German titan Airbus and Leonardo of Italy, but it has been slowing production as work dries up. An order for a further 48 Typhoons for Saudi Arabia has yet to be signed. About 15,000 jobs are reliant on Typhoon work in Britain. The government’s plan envisages the new fighter replacing the Typhoon. It will have the ability to operate with unmanned aircraft, and carry out stealth missions, bombing raids and air-to-air combat. The project will open the door to another international collaboration — with potential partners such as France, Sweden and Japan. Rolls-Royce has developed a prototype electric aircraft capable of vertical take-off and landing. The machine, which could be used for personal transport by the early 2020s, uses gas turbine technology to power six electric propulsors. It has a battery for energy storage. (Source: The Sunday Times)
09 Jul 18. Foreign Secretary: New Appointment. The appointment of The Rt Hon Jeremy Hunt MP as Foreign Secretary was confirmed on 9 Jul 18, following the resignation of The Rt Hon Boris Johnson MP on the same day. The new Foreign Secretary was elected to Parliament in 2005 and was previously the Secretary of State for Health and Social Care. Comment: The resignation of Boris Johnson followed a meeting of Cabinet Ministers on 6 Jul 18 to agree the details of a White Paper addressing the UK’s future relationship with the EU. The Rt Hon David Davis MP also resigned as the Secretary of State for Exiting the European Union and his replacement, Dominic Raab MP, was confirmed on 9 Jul 18. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
06 Jul 18. Future Relations with the EU: White Paper. A White Paper has been published, setting out Government proposals agreed during a meeting of Cabinet Ministers at Chequers (the Prime Minister’s country residence) on 6 Jul 18. On Defence and foreign affairs, the Paper outlines the Government’s vision for a ‘security partnership’ to include: maintaining existing capabilities; UK participation in key agencies; co-ordination on foreign policy, Defence and development issues; development of joint (military and industrial) capabilities and wider co-operation on other aspects of security such as counter-terrorism, cyber security and the causes of illegal migration. Comment: ‘The future relationship between the United Kingdom and the European Union’ was published as Cm 9593 on 12 Jul 18 and can be accessed via the Government web portal (www.gov.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
11 Jul 18. NATO Summit: Burden Sharing. During the Brussels NATO Summit (11-12 Jul 18) “frank discussions” were held on burden sharing. The Secretary General confirmed (12 Jul 18) that Allies were committed to increasing their share of Defence expenditure, noting that: “There is a new sense of urgency due to President Trump’s strong leadership on Defence spending.”. During 2018 eight member-states have committed to devote at least 2% of GDP on Defence and the “majority” plan to do so by 2024. Comment: While media reports of the Summit were dominated by the US President’s comments on Defence expenditure, measures were also agreed for a new readiness initiative (the so-called ‘Four Thirties’) an enhanced command structure and a new Cyber Operations Centre at SHAPE. A new training mission in Iraq is to be established and support for Jordan and Tunisia is to be increased. In addition, the Government of the Republic of Macedonia was invited to start accession talks. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
11 Jul 18. Afghanistan: Additional Troops. In response to a NATO request, the Defence Secretary announced (11 Jul 18) that the number of troops in Afghanistan is to be increased by 440 personnel in non-combat roles: “to take the total UK contribution to around 1,100 personnel”. About half of the 440 additional personnel will deploy in August 2018 and the remainder will follow no later than February 2019. The additional soldiers will initially deploy from the Welsh Guards, which already provides the UK’s contribution to the Kabul Security Force. Comment: Although UK combat operations in Afghanistan ended in 2014 British troops continue to play a key role in NATO’s ‘Resolute Support’ mission, by leading the Kabul Security Force. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
09 Jul 18. Nerve Agent: Amesbury Incident. In a Statement (9 Jul 18) the Home Secretary confirmed the death of one of the individuals exposed to the Novichok nerve agent in Amesbury on 30 Jun 18 and that the incident is now “a murder investigation”. The Metropolitan Police said in a Press statement (13 Jul 18) that a “small bottle” was recovered from the home of one of the two people contaminated in the Amesbury incident and that scientists from the Porton Down laboratory verified that “the substance contained within the bottle is Novichok”. Comment: On 13 Jul 18, the FCO advised that independent technical experts from the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) have been invited to the UK “early next week” to confirm the identity of the nerve agent “which has resulted in the death of one British national in Amesbury and has left another in a serious condition in hospital”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
13 Jul 18. Atlas Transport Aircraft: 20th Delivered. The MoD reported (13 Jul 18) that the RAF has taken delivery of the 20th Atlas (A400M) transport aircraft. The aircraft was handed over to the Air Mobility Force at RAF Brize Norton. Comment: The newly-delivered aircraft has formally entered RAF service, ready to begin crew training. The MoD has ordered 22 (A400M) Atlas aircraft and the final delivery is expected in 2022. Recent trials have included cargo delivery and air-to-air refuelling. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
06 Jul 18. HMS ENTERPRISE: NATO Handover. During a ceremony at Souda Bay in Crete (6 Jul 18) the survey ship HMS ENTERPRISE handed over responsibility for Standing NATO Mine Countermeasures Group Two (SNMCMG2) to the Captain of the German Elbe Class replenishment ship FGS RHEIN. HMS ENTERPRISE is due to return to the UK by the end of July 2018. Comment: As lead for SNMCMG2 for the past 12 months, HMS ENTERPRISE has directed six major exercises, visited 40 ports, helped locate four World War II mines, worked with scientists to further the use of unmanned technology and exercised with around a dozen NATO and foreign navies. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
10 Jul 18. Western Balkans: UK Hosts Summit. The fifth annual Western Balkans Summit concluded on 10 Jul 18 with the Prime Minister welcoming the six Western Balkan leaders (from Albania, Bosnia & Herzegovina, Kosovo, the Republic of Macedonia, Montenegro and Serbia) to London alongside other European figures, including the German Chancellor and the Polish Prime Minister. An initiative led by France and Germany, to control small arms and light weapons in the Western Balkans, was endorsed while the UK confirmed that it will increase funding to the region to £80m in 2020/21 and increase the number of staff working on security issues. Comment: The Foreign Affairs Committee published (6 Jul 18) ‘Global Britain and the Western Balkans’ as HC1013 ahead of the above Summit. The document was debated in the House of Commons on 12 Jul 18 where it was pointed out that the UK is in the odd position of “encouraging the Balkan six to join the EU just as our Government are in the process of preparing for the UK to leave”. The Committee report can be accessed via the Parliament website (www.parliament.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
05 Jul 18. Salisbury Plain: OP ASTON. Defence Infrastructure Organisation (DIO) staff on Salisbury Plain have been issued (5 Jul 18) with newly branded vehicles in a bid to control the number of illegal incursions taking place on the training area. The marked vehicles will be used later this month, during OP ASTON, to help educate people about the impact their actions have on the Plain. Comment: OP ASTON is a joint Operation run by the MoD, Wiltshire Police and the Royal Military Police. In addition to their new vehicles, DIO staff have also been issued with high visibility vests and body cameras. The cameras have been issued to deter aggression against staff and to record illegal activity. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
10 Jul 18. RAF Centenary. 100 days after the RAF’s official birthday on 1 Apr 18, the RAF marked its centenary in a day of celebrations on 10 Jul 18. The celebrations culminated in a flypast of 100 aircraft. Over 1,000 RAF Service personnel took part in a ceremonial parade in Central London, with a further 300 personnel lining the route. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/26, 16 Jul 18)
13 Jul 18. Dutch plan to sign Reaper drone deal next week – sources. The Netherlands plans to sign an agreement to buy four unmanned Reaper drones next week, two people familiar with the talks said on Friday, confirming a deal that has been delayed due to budgetary constraints. A Letter of Agreement for the surveillance drones could be signed next week at the Farnborough International Airshow outside London, the people said on condition of anonymity because the talks are confidential. The deal for the MQ-9 Reaper drones, made by California-based General Atomics, was first approved by the U.S. State Department back in 2015, when it had a value of $339m (£256.2m). The air show is typically marked by a race for commercial plane orders between Boeing Co and Airbus, but this year U.S. President Donald Trump is pushing a “Buy American” initiative aiming at drumming up billions of dollars in arms sales for U.S. companies. In April, the Trump administration rolled out a modification of its international arms sale policy making it easier to sell U.S. made weapons to allies. Still, the people said that the sale of the four Reapers, associated equipment, parts and logistical support was not related to the new policy initiative. The Dutch government said the intent to purchase was announced in 2016 as part of the Medium Altitude Long Endurance Unmanned Aerial Vehicle program. The deal was opposed by some Dutch lawmakers on July 5. “We are going to purchase four Reapers. A letter was recently sent to parliament. The letter of agreement is the final hurdle,” Dutch Defence Ministry spokesman Peter Valstar said. He said the delay was not due to political opposition but budgetary reasons and that the order is now being fast-tracked. A General Atomics spokesperson said the company values the relationship that it has with the Dutch air force “and look forward to continuing that relationship as the Netherlands joins other NATO MQ9 users to include the UK, US, France, Italy and Spain.” Speaking after a NATO summit on Thursday, Trump said he was ready to help smaller NATO countries buy U.S. weapons as he pushed them to spend more on their own defence. Trump claimed a personal victory at the summit after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington’s support. (Source: Reuters)
13 Jul 18. Carter leads charge on interoperability. Four weeks in to his new role, Chief of the Defence Staff, Gen Sir Nick Carter was adamant that the nation must ensure profound interoperability through joint working with allies. Addressing delegates at the Air Power 2018 conference, on 12 July, Carter said: ‘Deep interoperability is built on long-term relationships, developed by exercising together, testing doctrine and tactics together, and building mutual trust and understanding.’ This interoperability role has been highlighted through the recent authorisation of the UK Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) Comprehensive MoU. The JEF doctrine was signed on 28 June 2018 by UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson along with eight other nations’ defence heads from Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, The Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. Essentially, it means the joint forces work together on defence and collaboratively can deploy 10,000 personnel when and if needed – likely to be motivated by recent Russian aggression on the continent. On this venture, Carter commented: ‘[JEF] is a significant step in working together to develop genuine interoperability which will be a force multiplier.’ Whilst on the political stage the UK’s international posturing might be unclear as the Prime Minister and her cabinet continue deliberating on measures and policies needed and desired from the EU post-Brexit. However, Carter made it clear that the nation’s defence capabilities must be ‘maximised’ for a ‘global Britain’ strategy. This role is being further shaped and determined through its partnering with European nations in the JEF framework. ‘The UK must enable interoperability by providing technical systems that are extrovert by nature so that our partners have the sockets they can plug into for shared situational awareness, for a common operating picture, and for the coordination of digital joint fires. ‘But deep interoperability is built on long-term relationships, developed by exercising together, testing doctrine and tactics together, and building mutual trust and understanding,’ Carter added. (Source: Shephard)
13 Jul 18. Leonardo launches new E-scan radar for fighter jets ‘Grifo-E’ at Farnborough Air Show. •The Grifo-E draws on Leonardo’s established expertise in E-scan radar to offer a system with a variety of advanced new modes that comes in a flexible, cost-effective package•The Grifo-E is the evolution of the Grifo (M-scan) radar, which has been widely adopted with 450 units installed on seven types of aircraft for six air forces •Leonardo’s 2018-2022 Industrial Plan sees the success of products like the Grifo allowing for re-investment in targeted technology areas for long-term sustainable growth. Leonardo, exhibiting at Farnborough Air Show 2018 (16-20 July), will unveil the latest in its portfolio of electronically-scanning (E-Scan) radars, the Grifo-E. The new radar will be on show to visitors in Leonardo’s static area (stand L1). The Grifo-E is the evolution of the well received Grifo (M-scan) fire control radar for fighter aircraft, which has seen more than 450 units flying with six air forces. Re-using Leonardo’s proven E-scan antenna technology while adding a variety of advanced capabilities based upon a multi-aperture array and multi-channel receiver, Grifo-E offers high-spec E-scan fire-control capabilities in a cost-effective, lightweight and low consumption package. Grifo-E is available for orders now. The system is expected to be qualified in 2019, with first deliveries ready to take place in 2020. It is suitable for light attack aircraft as well as larger aircraft. A flexible, modular system, the Grifo-E can be easily adapted to meet the installation constraints on a wide range of platforms. The new radar has been designed and developed at Leonardo’s Nerviano and Edinburgh sites, making it a European radar product that is readily exportable internationally. Grifo-E makes use of Leonardo’s leading Active Electronically Scanned Array (AESA) technology, also known as ‘E-Scan’, hence the ‘-E’ suffix. AESA technology involves a matrix of hundreds of tiny radar modules being used to ‘steer’ an electronic beam, rather than the radar physically moving to point a beam at a target. This means the beam can be moved around extremely quickly, allowing the radar to perform multiple tasks simultaneously. Because the building blocks of the Grifo-E are mature, proven technologies owned by Leonardo, the Company has been able to invest in developing a range of advanced new modes for the radar, fully exploiting the capabilities of AESA, a multi-channel receiver and multi-core processing units. Meanwhile, visitors to Farnborough Air Show will also be able to see Leonardo’s Grifo-346 (M-Scan) fire control radar in-place on-board the M-346FA (Fighter Attack) aircraft, also at the Company’s static area. The Grifo radar is currently at an advanced stage of integration onto the M-346FA and will contribute to the aircraft being able to effectively carry-out a wide range of both training and operational missions. The Grifo-346 comes with a suite of field-proven air-to-air, air-to-surface and navigation modes, including high resolution SAR and ISAR. It is able to track up to 10 targets simultaneously in Track-While-Scan (TWS) mode and has a maximum range beyond 50NM (92km).
12 Jul 18. Trump ready to help some NATO states buy U.S. arms. U.S. President Donald Trump said on Thursday he was ready to help smaller NATO countries to buy U.S. weapons as he pushed them to spend more on their own defence. Speaking after a NATO summit, at which he said nations had agreed on new spending pledges, Trump said some less wealthy members had asked during meetings in Brussels if he could help them buy U.S. arms equipment, but did not name the countries. Asked about pressures on countries with weaker finances, he said, “We have many wealthy countries with us today but we have some that aren’t so wealthy and they did ask me if they could buy the military equipment, and could I help them out, and we will help them out a little bit,” he told a news conference. “We are not going to finance it for them but we will make sure that they are able to get payments and various other things so they can buy – because the United States makes by far the best military equipment in the world: the best jets, the best missiles, the best guns, the best everything.” Trump claimed a personal victory at the summit after telling European allies to increase spending or lose Washington’s support. The White House has been pushing a “Buy American” initiative which aims to help drum up billions of dollars more in arms business. The initiative has raised concerns in Europe, where some see increased weapons sales as a key goal of Trump’s repeated calls for NATO members to increase their military spending. Trump did not draw a direct link between weapons sales and his efforts to persuade other NATO countries to correct shortfalls in defence spending below NATO targets, but vaunted the benefits of U.S.-made defence equipment. “Everybody wants to buy our equipment… So we are helping some of those countries get on line and buy the best equipment.” Trump listed the top U.S. arms makers, Lockheed Martin Corp, Boeing Co and Northrop Grumman Corp by name. Other U.S. companies that stand to benefit from the U.S. arms sales push include missiles maker Raytheon Co and General Dynamics Corp, which builds warships and other military equipment. White House trade adviser Peter Navarro will lead a high-level team attending the Farnborough Airshow outside London next week to advocate on behalf of U.S. aerospace and defence companies. (Source: Reuters)
12 Jul 18. Trump Says NATO Allies Agree at Emergency Session to Raise Defense Spending. U.S. President Donald Trump says NATO allies have agreed to speed up increasing their defense spending following criticisms he made at a NATO summit in Brussels. Speaking after his criticism prompted an unscheduled emergency meeting of allies on July 12, Trump said the leaders of several other NATO member states had agreed to more quickly meet their commitment to raise their defense spending to 2 percent of gross domestic product. NATO allies in 2014 had vowed to meet the 2 percent spending target by the end of 2024. Trump said an additional $33bn would be spent on defense by NATO allies in “a relatively short number of years.” As a result of the emergency meeting, Trump said, NATO is now “very unified, very strong, no problem.” NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said at the conclusion of the summit that “all allies have heard President Trump’s message loud and clear.” Stoltenberg later clarified to CNN that NATO countries had committed to defense spending at 2 percent of GDP, but would not confirm a claim made by Trump in Brussels that the target was actually 4 percent. “We understand that this American president is very serious about defense spending, and this is having a clear impact,” he said. German Chancellor Angela Merkel said there was a “clear commitment to NATO” by all who attended the July 12 emergency session. “The American president demanded what has been discussed for months, that there is a change in the burden sharing,” she said. “I made clear that we are on this path. And that this is in our own interests and that it will make us stronger.” French President Emmanuel Macron said NATO leaders agreed to cooperate more in view of changing security situations, but he denied that NATO powers had agreed to increase defense spending beyond previous targets. Canadian Prime Minister Justin Trudeau said his country remains committed to increasing military spending as it pledged in 2014. Russia’s Foreign Ministry responded to the NATO comments by saying the alliance’s plan to “build up” its military activity “deepens dividing lines and intensifies tensions in Europe.” NATO positions itself as a defensive alliance, but it intensifies the purchase of offensive weapons,” a statement said. It asserted that NATO was using accusations against Russia as a “pretext” to expand its assets in the “once-quiet regions of the Baltic and Northern Europe.”
It also said that Macedonia was being “pulled into” NATO by “force.”
The NATO summit also resulted in an invitation for Macedonia to join the alliance after it implements its settlement of a long-running name dispute with NATO member Greece. The emergency meeting took place after Trump renewed his criticism of NATO allies about their defense spending and European trade practices during a session that was meant to focus on Black Sea security. That prompted NATO leaders to ask the presidents of non-member NATO partner states Ukraine and Georgia to leave the room so they could conduct their “allies-only” talks. AFP quoted an unnamed diplomatic source as saying that “Trump took advantage of his speaking time” during the Black Sea session with Ukrainian President Petro Poroshenko and Georgian President Giorgi Margvelashvili to “return to the issue of burden sharing” — prompting NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg to convene the emergency meeting. Reuters quoted two NATO sources as saying that Trump told allies in the closed-door meeting to raise their defense spending by January 2019 or the United States would go its own way. But Macron and Lithuanian President Dalia Grybauskaite denied reports that Trump threatened to withdraw the United States from NATO. Grybauskaite confirmed that Trump insisted NATO defense spending targets should be met more quickly. At a hastily called press conference following the emergency session, Trump said: “I told people I’d be very unhappy” if they did not increase their defense spending immediately. Trump also told reporters he thinks he “probably can” withdraw the United States from NATO without approval from the U.S. legislature. But he said such a move was now “unnecessary” because NATO allies have “stepped up” to increase defense spending “like they’ve never stepped up before.” Earlier on July 12, Trump tweeted during a summit session that NATO countries “Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.” Trump had previously called on other NATO states to meet the 2 percent defense-spending target by the end of 2024, but stunned his European counterparts on July 11 by calling on them to double their commitments to 4 percent of GDP. According to NATO statistics, that’s a bigger share than the United States currently pays. NATO’s emergency session on July 12 delayed a session meant to focus on the war in Afghanistan — a gathering bringing together Afghan President Ashraf Ghani and leaders from countries involved in the NATO-led Resolute Support mission in Afghanistan. Stoltenberg announced after that session that NATO leaders “decided to sustain our presence in Afghanistan until conditions indicate a change is appropriate,” and extended financing for Afghan security forces through 2024. “We also expressed strong support for President Ghani’s bold peace proposal,” the NATO chief said.
NATO leaders also reaffirmed the alliance’s rejection of Russia’s forced annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula in 2014. Stoltenberg said Russia’s move was “one of the main reasons why NATO has implemented the biggest reinforcement of collective defense since the Cold War” and has increased its presence in Poland, the Baltics, and Black Sea states that are NATO partners.
“We also met with the presidents of Georgia and Ukraine,” he said on July 12. “Together we discussed shared concerns, including Russia’s threats to their sovereignty and territorial integrity.” Today we agreed to continue working together to prepare Georgia for NATO membership and to step up our support in areas like crisis management, training, and exercises,” Stoltenberg said, added that NATO leaders had recognized “the significant progress on reforms which Georgia has made.” We stand by our earlier decisions in light of Ukraine’s aspirations to join the alliance,” he said. “We look forward to further progress in Ukraine’s reforms and we’ll continue to extend political and practical support as the country faces an active conflict.”
Earlier, Stoltenberg had said that NATO was sending Russia “a very clear signal that anything similar to what happened in Crimea cannot happen against any NATO country.”
NATO leaders in Brussels have indicated concerns about a meeting in Helsinki planned for July 16 between Trump and Russian President Vladimir Putin. Trump shocked some by saying on July 10 that the NATO summit might be more difficult than his talks with Putin. But after the July 12 emergency meeting of NATO leaders, Trump said that he didn’t want Putin to be a security threat to Europe or to the United States, and “that’s why we have NATO.” Trump also said he was unable to say what will happen to Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula, which was seized by Russia in 2014. But he refused to rule out U.S. recognition for the annexation by Russia.
“What will happen with Crimea from this point on, that I cannot tell you,” Trump said. “But I’m not happy about Crimea.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Radio Free Europe)
13 Jul 18. UK set to steal limelight at Farnborough air show. Government expected to signal vision of aerospace in post-Brexit Britain. The political and macroeconomic impact of Britain’s impending departure from the EU is expected to colour the annual aviation gathering. An international air show is usually the arena for global aerospace giants, Airbus and Boeing, to slug it out in a very public battle of egos and orders. But on Monday, when the world’s second-biggest air show kicks off in Farnborough, the UK government may steal the limelight with a package of prizes and promises aimed at signalling its vision for aerospace in post-Brexit Britain. Along with an eagerly awaited strategy to safeguard the UK’s capability in combat jets, ministers are expected to announce research funding for future aerospace technologies such as electric aviation, digitalisation and high-value design. They are also planning to award support for a spaceport programme that will see rockets launched from British soil by 2020. Lockheed Martin is backing at least one project while Virgin Galactic, Northrop Grumman and Airbus are also reported to be interested in participating. Despite controversy over Britain’s exclusion from the EU’s Galileo satellite navigation system or the Franco-German future fighter project unveiled last year, the message will be that the UK wants to stay at the forefront of future aerospace technologies when it leaves the EU, said Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, the industry lobby group. “It should strengthen the case for the likes of Airbus, Rolls-Royce, UTAS, Safran and a range of others as to why they should continue investing in the UK, because they will want to be part of this,” he said. The government’s focus on the future will be a useful distraction from the present, given that Airbus and Boeing are unlikely to deploy the record deals of the past. Although last year’s Paris air show, which alternates with Farnborough, delivered more aircraft deals than the previous two years, the days are long gone when Airbus and Boeing were able to strike record orders totalling more than 1,000 aircraft each. Airlines are taking a break from the near decade-long spending spree that began when high oil prices and rising passenger traffic strained ageing, fuel-hungry fleets. There is little point in placing orders when they may have to wait several years for delivery because of the vast backlogs that have been built up at Boeing and Airbus. Meanwhile, the Middle Eastern carriers whose rapid growth helped to fuel the buying boom of a few years ago are struggling to cope with a slowdown in traffic. Finally, the Asian airlines which will be the drivers of greatest growth in coming decades are looking at the spiralling trade war between China and the US with some apprehension. Airbus will be banking on the popularity of its newest product, the A220 © AP IBA, the independent aviation consultancy, is predicting that this year orders and memorandum of understandings will be roughly equal to those in Paris at about 900 in total. Some analysts suggest firm orders could be as low as 500. That said, there could still be some surprises. Airbus this week announced the first big deal for the newest member of its aircraft family — the CSeries, renamed the A220 since the European group took control of the struggling Bombardier programme on July 1. The promise to buy 60 A220-300s by US low-cost carrier JetBlue could be seen as the first victory over Boeing in a new battleground of regional aviation. Boeing last week agreed to take over the commercial aircraft business of Brazil’s Embraer, subject to government approval. JetBlue not only chose the A220 over the Brazilian group’s new E2 aircraft family, but will use them to replace its Embraer 190 regional aircraft. The air show will be Boeing’s chance to focus on the potential for its Embraer acquisition, as there will be little news on its proposed “new model aircraft”. Designed to bridge the gap between its biggest single-aisle and smallest twin-aisle jet, Boeing insists that there is a global niche for up to 4,000 aircraft. But Scott Hamilton of aviation consultancy, Leeham, notes that the language around the mooted new aircraft has changed subtly in recent months. “For the last two years, Boeing messaging has been entry into service around 2024-2025,” he said. “At the first-quarter earnings [Boeing] said quietly ‘we are still targeting 2025’. So what happened to 2024? The supply chain has told me . . . it is going to be 2027. Boeing cannot close the business case.” Some analysts and investors are hoping that Boeing never will. The challenges facing the big aircraft makers and their suppliers as they ramp up production on their newest aircraft already pose significant risks. Rolls-Royce’s troublesome Trent 1000 engine programme has added to caution surrounding new aircraft ventures Moreover, Boeing and Airbus are even talking about raising existing production rates because of pressure from airlines to deliver. “You are asking [the supply chain] to run before it can even walk,” said Rob Stallard, aerospace analyst at Vertical Research. “They don’t know what spare capacity they have in the system because they are not even at full rate yet.” The problems with new engines from Pratt & Whitney, General Electric and Safran — and even Rolls-Royce’s more mature Trent 1000 — have reinforced the case for a more cautious approach to the launch of a new aircraft programme that would spark another round of multibillion-dollar investment before the fruits of the last one have been gathered. “What I want to see is no appetite from Airbus and Boeing to take a chance,” said Sandy Morris, aerospace analyst at Jefferies investment bank. “I am not saying I would be pleased if the new model aircraft didn’t happen. But it would send a very important message to investors that we are now in a long period of harvest.” (Source: FT.com)
13 Jul 18. No final decision yet on UK defence review. Key Points:
- The UK government has not agreed to the headline findings of the MDP
- Drafts of the MDP propose GBP2bn a year extra in capability funding
- UK government ministers have yet to agree on key aspects of the country’s Modernising Defence Programme (MDP) review, putting its publication on hold. The headline findings of the MDP were expected to be released ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels on 11-12 July to enable Prime Minister Theresa May to brief her fellow heads of government on UK plans. May was unable to provide allied leaders with an MDP update, according to media reports from the summit. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
12 Jul 18. Airbus reveals its Network for the Sky military communications solution. Airbus will unveil its secure networked airborne military communications solution, Network for the Sky (NFTS), at the Farnborough International Airshow 2018. NFTS combines different communication technologies to form one resilient global mesh network, allowing aircraft to be fully part of a high-speed connected battle space. Leveraging its unique breadth of experience in aircraft, satellites and secure military communications, Airbus is preparing a communication network solution that is interoperable between aircraft, satellites, command centres and mobile units deployed on the ground or at sea.
“Network for the Sky aims to offer the same seamless experience that people have with their mobile phone when it switches from one network to another or from 4G to Wi-Fi without realising it, but with the reliability and cybersecurity standards of military communications,” said David Kingdon-Jones, Head of NFTS at Airbus Defence and Space. “The difference is that, in the sky, it is not only the users who are mobile, but also the network, since aircraft themselves constitute the nodes of that network. Given their speed, two aircraft may only have a few seconds to exchange information that is critical for the mission.”
Today, individual aircraft, unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and helicopters continue to operate on separate networks with limited interoperability between them and often little resilience. Their bandwidth is also usually insufficient for transferring large volumes of data. For example, on combat aircraft, Link 16 and UHF/VHF communication systems offer data rates of only a few kbit/s which is basically suited to voice communications and the exchange of position coordinates. NFTS will integrate various technologies, such as satellite links with geostationary, medium and low Earth orbit constellations, tactical air-to-ground, ground-to-air and air-to-air links, voice links, 5G mobile communication cells and laser connections, into a single global secure network. This intelligent network can be reconfigured at any time and prioritises exchanges based on data flows, mission objectives and available bandwidth on the different links. The management of end-to-end, seamless connectivity will thus be transparent to users. NFTS will also see the rollout of a new generation of communication terminals and antennas that can be perfectly integrated into the fuselage, capable of managing different frequency bands and remaining connected despite rapid manoeuvres by the aircraft. Providing connectivity for the entire duration of air missions, the network will enable information superiority and extend the multi-mission capabilities of aircraft. Mission aircraft will be able to share in real-time applications and data stored on board via a combat cloud. It will be possible to re-task in-flight combat aircraft and helicopters from the ground by uploading updated mission plans, for example to strike targets of opportunity. It will also be possible to operate fleets of tactical UAVs in swarms. High-altitude platforms, such as Zephyr, will create permanent communication cells of several hundred kilometres in diameter in order to relay aircraft communications via Airbus’ SpaceDataHighway laser links. NFTS is offered as a modular, end-to-end solution, with the first phase already available. This involves standardising the use of high-speed satellite connectivity on aircraft from this point onward thanks to a range of antennas which have the capability to switch from one satellite beam to another in-flight. Thus the V/UHF radio links and L16 can be extended via a satellite communication relay from a few hundred kilometres to thousands of kilometres. Network for the Sky is the foundation for the connected airborne battlespace, with the objective to offer a full operational capability by 2020. The NFTS programme is part of Airbus’ Future Air Power project and is fully aligned with the development of the European Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
12 Jul 18. Brexit bad news for UK defence growth. The UK’s lack of strategy surrounding Brexit could be impacting the defence sector’s annual turnover if figures released by the ADS Group are anything to go by. The group reported an annual turnover of £23bn in 2016, this decreased to £22.1bn in 2017. This raises potential issues over the UK as an investment spot for aerospace and defence companies. In comparison, in 2015 the defence sector experienced a high of a £24bn turnover. Since Brexit has entered the political discourse there has been a year on year decline of around £1bn in the defence sector’s annual turnover. Currently, the UK is the largest exporter of defence equipment and services in Europe and second only to the US globally. On 5 July this year, Paul Everitt, chief executive at ADS Group, made his ‘frustrations’ clear over the scenario of what happens if no deal is reached in relation to Brexit.
‘Our concerns are on the longer-term implications. We’ve been clear that no deal is the worst possible outcome because no deal is chaotic… depending on how the deal deals with custom and regulatory issues – the customs and regulatory alignment are a piece; one or the other is not what we want because that is how you deliver frictionless trade.’
Everitt explained that businesses are seriously concerned about the costs of operating in the UK post-Brexit and the potential for those costs to climb higher as a result of withdrawing from the EU. Therefore, the attractiveness of the UK as an investment hub will be ‘diminished’. The fear is investment in big projects like new aircraft and technologies will go elsewhere on the continent or beyond thus causing a long-term business problem. Fears of the impact of Brexit on investment in UK aerospace stemmed around the necessity for minimal delay in investment to the UK, this is a sentiments shared by ADS in July 2016; interestingly, a year prior to the referendum.
Everitt said at the time: “From a national economy point of view, the danger is a vacuum to see what happens and that process of waiting to see actually creates the economic conditions. Which then create a set of circumstances that are difficult to deal with.”
A year on in June 2017, Everitt called on the government to establish a ‘more collaborative approach’ to negotiations and emphasised the need to ‘build a strong consensus on the priorities and options for a successful Brexit’ for the industry. Whilst the UK government continues to flip-flop over the deal it desires to make the UK a successful independent trading nation – confidence from the business community is waning despite industry groups like ADS calling for clear decision-making well in advance of Brexit deal talks. (Source: Shephard)
12 Jul 18. Trump claims NATO victory after ultimatum to go it alone. Donald Trump gave an angry ultimatum to European allies on Thursday, warning a NATO summit the United States could withdraw its support and sparking crisis talks which the U.S. president said produced big new defence spending pledges. Other leaders, however, played down the extent to which they went beyond existing commitments to increase contributions to their own defence, as Trump demanded they share more of what he calls an unfair burden on U.S. taxpayers in funding an alliance focused on discouraging pressure from a resurgent Moscow. In a closed-door meeting with NATO leaders, Trump said that if European governments did not spend more on defence, the United States “would have to look to go its own way”, according to one diplomatic source present in the room. Trump delivered the line after what several sources said was an improvised rant focussed on his grievances about transatlantic ties, but appeared to hesitate before issuing his ultimatum, which led to some confusion about what he really meant. French President Emmanuel Macron and others said they did not hear in Trump’s warning a direct threat to quit NATO — though the words did cause alarm — and Trump himself later said such a move would be “unnecessary”. The early morning drama was part of two days of diplomatic theatre in Brussels, as allies tried to shield a post-war world order from his “America first” demands. It was unclear anything concrete changed, although NATO’s chief Jens Stoltenberg spoke of a “new sense of urgency”. A month after he walked out of a G7 economic summit amid rows about new U.S. tariffs that have provoked fears of global trade war, Trump was already at the centre of a storm from the start of the NATO summit on Wednesday. He accused German Chancellor Angela Merkel of being beholden to Moscow due to energy imports, while letting Americans pay for protecting Germany from Russia. That tension seemed to calm during a gala dinner but that did not last. Trump tweeted out more of his anger overnight, saying billions of dollars in new spending by NATO allies since last year “isn’t nearly enough”. When the summit resumed for a session with the leaders of non-members Ukraine and Georgia, Trump failed to appear for nearly an hour, officials said. And when he did, he soon used his turn to speak to stray from the scheduled topic and to return to his budget complaints in even stronger language. People present said he raged that allies, notably Germany, did not make vast increases in their defence budgets. Pledges to spend 2 percent of national income on defence by 2024 must be met by January, he said — a dizzying idea for many countries which currently spend just half that. Another NATO diplomat said Trump trampled on protocol by pointing at some leaders he said were not spending enough and addressing Merkel by her first name, referring to her as “you, Angela”. Stoltenberg, stepping in — not for the first time — as peacemaker between Trump and the other 28, called a special closed-door session, the first in a decade, with most officials and the invited guests ushered out, to allow the alliance’s principal leaders to remonstrate with Trump. Merkel, facing domestic political opposition to pushing defence spending up from 1.2 percent of GDP, said she explained to Trump how much was already being done. NATO has spent an extra $90bn on defence since 2015, after Russia seized Crimea from Ukraine in 2014. Macron said he had just agreed a 2019 budget with parliament so changing it was unrealistic — a point Trump later said he had accepted though he still expected all members to hit the 2 percent target in the next years, and then possibly double that.
“I let them know that I was extremely unhappy,” an ebullient Trump told reporters afterwards. But he added that the talks had ended on good terms: “Everybody in that room got along and they agreed to pay more and they agreed to pay it more quickly.”
In a characteristically freewheeling news conference at NATO headquarters, covering his impending visit to Britain, talks with Russian President Vladimir Putin on Monday, Iran, China, and his father and mother’s European roots, Trump also returned to a favoured theme. He linked calls for higher defence spending to complaints about Germany’s trade surplus and renewed a threat to raise tariffs on EU-made cars if trade terms do not change. Stoltenberg, a former Norwegian premier who Trump said gave him “total credit” for a successful summit, told reporters: “We had a very frank and open discussion … That discussion has made NATO stronger. It has created a new sense of urgency.”
Merkel was among those, however, who gave little indication that anything concretely new had been pledged by those present.
“The American president demanded what has been discussed for months, that there is a change in the burden-sharing. I made clear that we are on this path,” she said, a day after having to challenge Trump’s suggestion German imports of Russian gas meant that her country was “totally controlled by Russia”.
Macron said France, which last year spent 1.8 percent on defence, would meet the target by the 2024 deadline. For many of those present, Trump’s demands that they move closer to the 3.6 percent of GDP Washington spends on the world’s most powerful military make little sense. “Even if we had the money, what would spend it on?” one NATO diplomat said. “In the case of Germany, a lot of European countries would be very uncomfortable with that level of spending,” the diplomat added — a nod to the World War Two aggression that was to lead to NATO’s creation. “It would be armed to the teeth.” (Source: Reuters)
11 Jul 18. UK Wants Leading Role In Next-Generation Fighter: UK Air Chief. Britain wants to maintain a leadership position in fighter jet technology and will not take a subsidiary role to France and Germany as they move ahead on developing a next-generation warplane, the country’s air chief said on Wednesday. Britain is considering its future air combat strategy, and the government said in February it will provide a further update on it at some point this summer.
“We have world leading capabilities. We are going to define what we want to do in the future,” Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier, chief of staff of the Royal Air Force, told reporters.
Hillier noted Britain had played a key role in development of the Eurofighter Typhoon and Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35. “What we’re not going to do is follow where other nations go,” he said after a conference of global air chiefs. “I don’t feel that the UK’s role in this is to chase after France and Germany.” (defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: Given that the UK has a funding shortfall of about £20bn to pay for the programs it has already launched, it is hard to imagine how it could find the several billion pounds it needs to develop a new-generation combat aircraft. Furthermore, its involvement in the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter program as a subcontractor to Lockheed Martin raises questions about its commitment to European aerospace, especially after Brexit. It is by no means clear that BAE Systems would have next-generation technology that Airbus DS and Dassault don’t, and so it is not clear what the UK could contribute in exchange of the “leading role” the RAF chief of staff wants it to play.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Reuters)
11 Jul 18. Turkey defiant on purchase of Russian S-400 anti-missile weapon. Turkey’s foreign minister defended his government’s choice Wednesday to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system, presenting it as the second-best option only because NATO allies declined to sell Western hardware. Speaking during a panel discussion on the sidelines of the NATO summit in Brussels, Belgium, Foreign Minister Mevlüt Çavuşoğlu claimed the Russian-made system poses no threat to the rest of the alliance members, though he offered no argument for his position. Western issue experts view the purchase from Russia as risky because the system could pose a serious security risk when integrated into allied networks ― if that is possible at all. In addition, Turkey buying from Moscow sends a signal of division among NATO members, the argument goes.
“I tried to buy from my allies,” Çavuşoğlu said. “I wanted to buy from the U.S. for the last 10 years; it didn’t work. I couldn’t buy from NATO allies, so Russia gave me the best proposal. And now I’m buying from Russia.”
Çavuşoğlu used his speech to take stabs at various NATO members: the United States, for attempts to block F-35 fighter jet sales to Turkey over the S-400 kerfuffle; Germany, for ending a deployment of the Patriot anti-missile system protecting Turkey’s southern border; and all of Ankara’s “Western friends” for wanting to keep the country at the in-between stage of “at the doorstep of Europe.” The foreign minister’s attitude reflects the serious strains between Turkey and western Europe, in particular. The German government, for example, believes President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has effectively transformed the country into an autocracy. German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, who was part of the panel discussion, retorted that Berlin never withdrew its Patriot systems some years ago, as Çavuşoğlu claimed. Rather, German anti-missile troops left under a previously planned rotational scheme with other nations. That prompted a snide remark from the Turk, who said Italy had prolonged its Patriot commitment “like real allies.” (Source: Defense News)
11 Jul 18. Why an unmanned fighter fleet isn’t yet viable, in the words of Britain’s Air Force chief. Step back two years to the start of the 2016 Farnborough International Airshow, when few people in Europe were talking about a new manned fighter. But today it seems to be a topic on everyone’s mind. The reason, according to the head of Britain’s Royal Air Force, is that the technology required to operate an unmanned fighter fleet has not yet advanced sufficiently to make that happen.
“If you trace this back to 2010, if not before, people were saying we have built the last generation of manned combat aircraft. That view was based on how people saw technology development at that stage. But time has moved on and people have realized that it isn’t easy in the combat air part of it,” according to Air Chief Marshal Stephen Hillier. “You can have highly sophisticated ISR capabilities like the [General Atomics] Protector, but in terms of the manned combat air mission operating in contested, high-intensity airspace against demanding threat, we have yet to see a technological path to take the person out of that platform,” he told reporters on the sidelines of the air power conference in London on July 11. Even leaving aside fixing the legal, moral and ethical issues surrounding unmanned combat air vehicles, Hillier said he was unable to put a date on when Britain could field a force without a pilot in the cockpit.
“The future air force will have a greater portion of unmanned platforms than we currently have, but I cannot yet forecast a date when we are completely unmanned,” he said. “I don’t say it will never happen, and we have to be sufficiently agile to respond as technology develops, but no one, including the U.S., has yet seen the path to get there.”
Hillier’s questioning of whether the technology to support an unmanned air combat capability at this time is viable seems to be vindicated by the fact Britain and a Franco-German alliance are both taking the first steps toward new manned, sixth-generation fighter programs with in-service dates around the end of the 2030s. The U.S. is working on its own programs, most noticeably a Northrop Grumman-led effort to build a long-range bomber for the U.S. Air Force. It wasn’t that long ago some in Europe were talking about having an unmanned combat air capability ready for service by 2030. The British and French have had a joint future unmanned combat air study underway for several years. But progress stalled this year, with French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly saying the British were instead more interested in pursuing a surveillance version of the vehicle. France continues to be interested in a combat variant. Industry was optimistic the British government would take the wraps off a new combat air strategy in the next week or so to outline the way forward for the military and industry; however, that is now in question because a wider review by the Ministry of Defence into future capabilities and funding has failed to appear as billed by the government. The expectation was that first step toward a possible manned fighter program and a way forward on unmanned vehicles might appear during the Royal International Air Tattoo, which starts July 13, or during the Farnborough air show, which gets underway July 16. It’s now unclear whether that will happen. An apparent ongoing row between the Treasury and Cabinet Office on one side and the MoD on the other over additional defense funds, coupled with the general turmoil in government over British plans to leave the European Union, has delayed what is known as the modernizing defense review. MoD officials had previously said the headlines of the review would be released by the time the NATO summit opened in Brussels on July 11, but nothing has emerged. Hillier warned the RAF would be unable to do all it wanted, in the timeline it hoped for without a budget boost. The Air Force chief was noncommittal over the timing of the release of the defense review and the combat air strategy, saying they would be released when ready. Industry executives, speaking on condition of anonymity, said it’s possible at least some conceptual designs for a British manned fighter could be on show at Farnborough.
Tempest ― an industry grouping comprising BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce ― has been doing conceptual work with the Royal Air Force rapid capability office since at least the turn of the year on the sort of capabilities any future fighter might need. A second phase of work is now in discussion between the Tempest participants. Whatever the combat air strategy looks like, Hillier has given notice that it will be different from a Franco-German offering.
“I don’t feel the U.K. role is to chase after France and Germany. We want to define what’s best for us and we will bring other nations with us. If in the future it includes France and Germany, that will be healthy as well,“ he said. “What we are not going to do is just follow where other nations go. We have world-leading capabilities, we are going to define what we are going to do in the future and we are going to draw other nations towards us,” he added. “We have a leading role in the Typhoon [program] and a significant role on the F-35. This is what we are capable of, and from a U.K. perspective we intend to continue to have that position in [the] future.”
The RAF chief’s comments follow a plea by the boss of Airbus’ defense operation for European combat air companies to unite behind a single program, or face the prospect of the region falling into the second division of world fighter producers.
“I strongly believe it has to be a full European solution [for a new combat air program]. Two or more different solutions is not sustainable ― it will bring Europe into the second league,” Dirk Hoke told reporters at a pre-Farnborough briefing in London on July 6.
Berlin and Paris have previously made it clear that other nations can join the program, but only at a later date. (Source: glstrade.com/Defense News)
11 Jul 18. Trump presses Nato allies to lift defence spending to 4% of GDP. US president opens summit with attack on Germany as ‘captive of Russia.’ Donald Trump pressed Nato allies to double their target for defence spending to 4 per cent of gross domestic product as he accused Germany of being a “captive of Russia”. At a summit in Brussels, Mr Trump said members of the alliance should not just meet their military spending goal of 2 per cent of GDP, but double it to a level that is not even met by the US. The White House confirmed that Mr Trump pushed to raise the target — a point he made at the Nato summit in Warsaw a year ago. Mr Trump began the two-day meeting with an outburst at Germany, saying it was a “rich country” that could boost defence spending “immediately” but was beholden to Moscow because of its dependence on Russian gas. His remarks set the tone for a gathering that many allies had feared would become a public display of divisions. The US president frequently berates Nato allies for falling short of their spending promise, but his strident remarks at an event normally used to underscore unity come days before his first summit with Russian president Vladimir Putin, a leader he has often praised. Shortly after departing the Nato summit venue — where he told reporters during a meeting with Chancellor Angela Merkel that relations with Berlin were “tremendous” — Mr Trump repeated his attack on Germany over defence spending and trade relations. “What good is Nato if Germany is paying Russia billions of dollars for gas and energy? Why are there only 5 out of 29 countries that have met their commitment?” Mr Trump tweeted before the leaders held a dinner. “The US is paying for Europe’s protection, then loses billions on Trade. Must pay 2% of GDP IMMEDIATELY, not by 2025.” Richard Fontaine, president of the Center for a New American Security in Washington, said Mr Trump was correct to press Nato to spend more, but should alter his approach. Trump criticises Berlin over Russian pipeline “
The tone is far harsher than it needs to be, and his singular focus on their spending, rather than challenges like Russia and terrorism, is missing big parts of the picture,” said Mr Fontaine. “He seems to have special animus for Germany, perhaps because it is the richest European country and has a long way to go in boosting defence spending to the agreed-upon level.” John Kerry, who served as secretary of state under Barack Obama, said he had never seen a US president be so counterproductive. “It was disgraceful, destructive and flies in the face of the actual interests of the US,” Mr Kerry said. “What was on display in Brussels today was not the behaviour of a strong, principled, and wise leader. Enough.” While Mr Trump created a contentious atmosphere, the alliance members agreed on a declaration in which they criticised Russia, saying its “aggressive actions, including the threat and use of force to attain political goals, challenge the alliance . . . are undermining Euro-Atlantic security and the rules-based order”. But the agreement was overshadowed by Mr Trump’s early morning remarks at a tense breakfast with Jens Stoltenberg, Nato secretary-general. “It certainly doesn’t seem to make sense that they paid billions of dollars to Russia and now we have to defend them against Russia,” Mr Trump said. When Mr Stoltenberg stressed the importance of unity in the alliance, Mr Trump shot back: “How can you be together when a country is getting its energy from the person you want protection against or from the group that you want protection?” (Source: FT.com)
09 Jul 18. German mid-term military budget not enough, says defence ministry. Planned government funding for Germany’s military, which faces worsening equipment and personnel shortages, will not meet its needs after next year and should be increased, the defence ministry said on Monday. Defence State Secretary Peter Tauber told lawmakers the 2019 armed forces budget included significant increases, but hikes for the following three years under a plan approved last week by Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet would leave the service short.
“Further increases in defence spending should follow in the next years … to meet the Bundeswehr’s (military’s) needs,” Tauber wrote, citing a NATO target for members to spend 2 percent of economic output on defence.
Under the budget, military spending by Europe’s largest economy will rise to 1.3 percent of GDP in 2019 but then fall back to around 1.23 percent by 2022. Germany has come under fire from U.S. President Donald Trump and some other allies for not raising that percentage, and the issue is likely dominate a NATO summit this week. Trump renewed his criticism on Monday, saying Germany spent “1 percent” of its GDP on defence and the United States 4 percent.
“This is not fair, nor is it acceptable,” he said in a Twitter posting, adding that other countries were “nowhere close to their 2 percent commitment” either.
According to an internal ministry report cited by mass-circulation daily Bild, Germany’s armed forces were operating “at the edge of their capacity,” leaving them too stretched to take on new missions while equipment shortages were affecting training. No comment was immediately available from the Defence Ministry about the report, the latest of several to raise alarms about the Bundeswehr’s readiness for combat after decades of spending cuts. Merkel last week said she would continue pushing for increased military funding after years of cutbacks, and pledged Germany would be spending 1.5 percent of GDP by 2024. Johann Wadephul, deputy head of the conservatives in parliament, said that target should be met by 2021.
“We must demonstrate our credibility, especially vis-a-vis our European partners,” he told Reuters. But Merkel’s centre-left coalition partners, the Social Democrats, control the finance ministry and are resisting further increases. Elizabeth Braw, a fellow at the Center for European Policy Analysis, said Trump’s “public crucifixion” of Germany could, given his unpopularity there, make it even tougher to win public support for higher military spending. Bild quoted the report as saying none of the navy’s six submarines and only 90 of the army’s 179 Leopard 2 tanks were ready for use. In the cyber realm, shortages could limit the ability to carry out existing missions this year and affect the quality of future ones, the newspaper added. (Source: Reuters)
09 Jul 18. UK Government Report Highlights Issues with Defence Aviation Programmes. The UK government has declared that nearly every major defence aviation procurement programme currently ongoing is either in danger of not being successfully delivered, or can only be delivered once significant issues have been overcome. In its Annual Report on Major Projects 2017-18, the government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) found that all of the seven programmes reviewed required varying levels of management attention if they were to be successfully delivered, while the successful delivery of one project was said to be “unachievable”. Published on 4 July, the report noted that the IPA determined that the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Protector UAS cannot be delivered on schedule or on budget, rating it as Red (successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable. There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable. However six projects could still be delivered with enhanced oversight and management – the AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat battlefield and maritime helicopter was rated Amber/Green (successful delivery appears probable; however, constant attention will be needed to ensure risks do not materialise into major issues threatening delivery). The Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft, CROWSNEST carrier airborne early warning helicopters and Thales Watchkeeper unmanned aircraft system (UAS) were rated Amber (successful delivery appears feasible but significant issues already exist, requiring management attention. These appear resolvable at this stage and, if addressed promptly, should not present a cost/schedule overrun). The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) were rated Amber/Red (successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas. Urgent action is needed to address these problems and/or assess whether resolution is feasible). (Source: UAS VISION/Jane’s 360)
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