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09 Aug 18. Turkey invests in defence projects. A meeting of the executive committee of Turkey’s defence procurement agency, chaired by Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan, on 7 August approved projects worth TRY13.5bn (USD2.55bn). These included projects to increase the capabilities of attack helicopters, provide new unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs), and modernise jamming, radar, and command systems, the Defence Industry Directorate (SSB) – formerly the Turkish Defence Industries Undersecretariat (SSM) – announced in a press release. No details on the modernisation of the systems were provided, but Ismail Demir, who heads the SSB, on 4 August tweeted information on some of the 48 defence projects that Erdogan had unveiled on 3 August as part of a 100-day action plan. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
09 Aug 18. A ‘weakness of the West’? UK defense minister warns of lack of grand strategy. In an era where talking about great power competition is all the rage, the U.K.’s top defense official has a stark warning: Western nations need to start thinking about the big picture. Speaking in Washington on Aug. 7, Gavin Williamson, the U.K. defense minister, warned that not enough is being done to plan for long-term efforts by Western nations to counter the potential threats from Russia and China.
“The debates about grand strategy among NATO partners, among the West, among our friends and allies, there’s not enough talk about it,” Williamson said during a visit to the Atlantic Council. “You want to be having that conversation because if we do not have that conversation, if we do not start planning for it, we will be ill-prepared for it. I think that is a weakness of the West, and we have to deal with this, and we have to deal with it soon and quickly.”
The theme of great power competition is impossible to shake in the D.C. region, particularly since the Trump administration rolled out its National Defense Strategy, which declared China and Russia as the two standards by which the United States must judge its success. The conventional wisdom in national security circles is that China is the best of the three nations at executing a true “grand strategy,” one laying out goals decades down the line and pursuing them with a whole-of-government approach. Williamson specifically compared the situation among Western powers to that of China, noting “they do have that grand strategy, they have that plan for the future. And we have to deliver that as well.” But, he noted, the U.S. and its European allies should be looking at ways available now to work with China, as opposed to against them.
“We have to be thinking about how we make sure China plays an important, valuable and positive role on the world stage. That is something I believe they want to do, they want to see themselves playing that role. And part of our grand strategy would be to encourage them and deliver them into that positive role,” he said.
The U.K. minister also used his appearance to downplay tension between the Trump administration and NATO, saying the United States remains “incredibly committed” to its allies.
“Judge a nation on its actions,” he said, citing budget increases the last two years for efforts such as the U.S.-led European Deterrence Initiative. “The U.S. has been the most reliable partner for us and many other nations, and I have no doubt that will continue and that will continue to grow.” (Source: Defense News)
08 Aug 18. UK reports massive uptick in defense exports. Britain’s defense exports recorded a massive 53 percent uptick in 2017, figures released by the government show. The Defence Security Organisation posted the figures, without any fanfare, on their website at the end of last month, showing British defense companies secured exports valued at £9bn ($11.59bn) last year; it’s the second largest annual export success in the last decade. The defense sales figures bounced back from a poor performance in 2016 when associated exports totalled £5.9bn.
“The U.K.’s strong performance equates to a third-placed ranking globally, up from fourth in 2016, and is a considerable achievement,” said the DSO.
The British success came against a background of a surge in defense exports globally. The DSO said total overseas sales by countries around the world reached a 10-year high at around $98bn in 2017. Saudi Arabia, India and Qatar remain the three largest importers of defense equipment, said the DSO. The British government organization said the U.S. dominated international arms exports in 2017 to an extent not seen previously.
“In 2017, the USA achieved its highest market-share ever, estimated at 53%, reflecting consistent sales across all sectors. Russian defence exports equated to an estimated market-share of 16%. We estimate the UK market share at 12%, double that of France,” said the DSO.
The DSO said the increasing spend on defense exports is a symptom of the rising tensions internationally. Increasingly buyers are getting around financial constraints by raising the money from banks and other off-budget funding sources.
“The increased global defense export market total reflects on-going strategic threats/uncertainties and rising prices. Despite fiscal constraints, defence expenditure has been heavily augmented by off budget funding but some projects have been delayed,” said the DSO.
The department said the large British upswing in performance from 2016 illustrated the volatile nature of defense exports. Over the last 10 years the best annual defense export effort was in 2013 when sales reached £9.8bn and the worst was in 2008 when they slumped to £4.3bn. They also acknowledged that Britain’s almost total reliance on air sector deals exacerbated the sometimes famine-to-feast nature of yearly sales figures. France, Britain’s main European export rival in the sector, was a victim of that volatility last year, securing a single deal for the Dassault Aviation built Rafale fighter, said the DSO.
“French defence exports fell sharply in 2017 with only one Rafale deal, their export figures largely comprising helicopter and missile sales,” said the DSO.
Export sales by France fell to 6.9bn euro ($8bn) last year, pretty much half the previous year’s figure. The DSO, part of the Department for International Trade which was created by the Conservative Government in 2016 to pursue overseas trade opportunities for a post-Brexit Britain, released the defense and security export figures July 31. The DSO leads the government export sales drive in some, but not all, defense equipment areas. The figures show it was not just defense exports that were on the up last year. Security equipment sales in foreign markets also continued to rise in 2017 with the sector recording £4.8bn in exports, compared to £4.3bn the previous year. Cyber exports dominated the security sector, being responsible for £1.8bn of sales overseas last year. That said, as always it was the air sector that generated most of the defense export success. The website listed British equipment sales to the F-35 strike jet program, Rolls-Royce engine sales to the German multi-role tanker transport program and work with Turkey on a possible future fighter project as being among the export successes in 2017. Defense industry executives here said a major five-year deal with Saudi Arabia to support British supplied aircraft operated by the Gulf state was also a factor in the improved export performance in 2017.
The Saudi’s operate Typhoon, Tornado and Hawk jets supplied by BAE. British and Saudi governments signed a memorandum of understanding earlier this year on a much-delayed deal to supply a further 48 Typhoon jets to add to the 72 the Gulf state already has in service. The DSO said in it’s web posting that 91 percent of Britain’s defense exports were accounted for by the air sector. It’s a clear illustration of why the British government launched a combat air strategy at the Farnborough air show in July, including the unveiling of a full-scale concept demonstrator model. The British government unveiled a full-scale concept demonstrator model of Tempest, its future fighter, at Farnborough. For Britain’s rivals globally the figure attributed to air sector exports is closer to 66 percent. The DSO acknowledged the U.K.’s export effort was unbalanced in favor of air with land accounting for 5 percent and sea just 4 percent of overseas sales. Those naval export figures could change a little for the better this year though.
BAE Systems, with it’s Type 26 anti-submarine warfare frigate design, has recently been selected as the preferred bidder for a multi-billion pound deal with Australia. A contract involving the building of nine warships in Australia could be signed by the end of the year. The Type 26 selection likely boosts the frigates chances of coming out on top in a competition now being run by Canada for a new warship. In fact 2018 could be a bumper year for British defense exports overall. Aside from the likely Type 26 deal with Australia this year the British are also expected to seal a deal with Qatar for 24 Typhoon jets. The U.K. and the Gulf state agreed on a deal, and Qatar is currently in the process of raising funds from international banks to finance a multi-bn pound deal for BAE supplied Typhoons along with a handful of Hawk jet trainers. (Source: Defense News)
08 Aug 18. Newton appoints CMS Strategic as PR partner. Newton has appointed CMS Strategic as the public relations agency for its defence, aerospace, infrastructure and transportation sectors. Newton specialises in delivering multi-million-pound performance improvement for large-scale, complex-engineering programmes, working with major primes like BAE Systems, Babcock International, Bombardier, Leonardo, EDF and QinetiQ. The company, which employs over 250 people, has supported improvement on every major UK maritime programme over last five years, including delivering a 54% performance improvement on the UK’s largest naval maritime build programme. The company is currently delivering a range of transformational improvement initiatives within defence, including with some of the clients named above, to drive performance in planning, engineering and production. Newton is in the process of expanding its offering to the infrastructure and transportation sectors, following recent success enhancing the operating performance of Docklands Light Railway, a vital London transport route. Newton’s leadership team will be speaking at a range of relevant sector events during the Autumn. They will be sharing insight from their defence work to contribute to the debate on the modernising defence programme, as well as driving value for all stakeholders in major infrastructure programmes.
Philip Sunley, partner and head of defence and aerospace at Newton, said: “We are really looking forward to working with a PR agency that fundamentally understands the defence sector. At the moment, the sector is facing significant cost and efficiency challenges to its equipment plan up until 2025. While changes in government spending may be part of the answer, we believe there is still a huge amount to be achieved by focusing on performance within current and planned equipment programmes. Only then will we be in the best position to develop a modern and capable defence.”
08 Aug 18. UK welcomes US participation in Tempest fighter jet concept. The United Kingdom plans to work closely with US industry as it develops its next-generation Tempest fighter jet concept, according to the UK defence secretary.
“We have a great tradition at producing the best fighters in the world and we have a great tradition of having that national sovereign capability, and we are never going to be wanting to surrender that,” Gavin Williamson told an audience on 7 August at the Atlantic Council think tank in Washington. “In terms of actually working with international partners, we’re very open to it.” Williamson announced the Tempest concept in mid-July at the UK Farnborough International Airshow. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
08 Aug 18. Poland Hosts First Deployable Air Base System Exercise. Members of the U.S. Air Force, Air National Guard, Air Force Reserve and Army participated in the first Deployable Air Base System proof of concept exercise at the 31st Tactical Air Base here July 16-Aug. 13. The joint team tested their ability to quickly process, deploy and set up facilities, equipment and vehicles in a location where little or no infrastructure exists.
Rapid, Flexible Response
“Having the Deployable Air Base System capability allows for a rapid, flexible response to any type of contingency that the Air Force in Europe would need to respond to and in any location within the area of responsibility,” said Air Force Capt. Alex John, logistics readiness officer for U.S. Air Forces in Europe-Air Forces Africa.
There are currently no DABS kits in the Air Force inventory. Procurement for the kits began in fiscal year 2018, and multiple DABS kits will be purchased and stored throughout Europe over the next several years.
“What we’re trying to do is buy enough sets that when you look 360 degrees from wherever the threat might come in Europe, that we can easily set up base operations to generate sorties,” said Air Force Brig. Gen. Roy Agustin, director of logistics, engineering and force protection for USAFE-AFAFRICA.
DABS packages will include facilities, equipment, vehicles, and health service support. They will allow the Air Force to have valuable equipment on location to support USAFE-AFAFRICA operations, actions, and activities.
“Deployable Air Base Systems enhance prepositioned equipment right here in theater and cuts the amount of airlift you would need to bring over additional air assets because it’s already here,” Agustin said. “You cut on time [getting combat ready regarding] airlift, and you can set up a base sooner with less of a footprint.”
The exercise allowed the airmen and soldiers to train together as a joint force and provided an invaluable opportunity to demonstrate their commitment and ability to quickly and effectively respond to regional crises. This exercise sets the standard for future exercises and real world DABS activation. Active duty units based in Germany and Italy and National Guard units from Alabama, Georgia, Illinois, Montana, North Carolina, Ohio, Oklahoma, Pennsylvania, Tennessee and Virginia participated in the DABS proof of concept exercise.(Source: US DoD)
07 Aug 18. Ministers ‘waste Brexit leverage’ by handing EU firms big orders. Robin Southwell, the former chief executive of Airbus, said huge deals were being signed off while the UK’s access to the Galileo project was restricted are giving contracts worth billions of pounds to EU companies rather than working together in using them as leverage over Brexit, according to a Downing Street business adviser. Robin Southwell, former chief executive of Airbus UK, said that the Ministry of Defence was signing off vast procurement deals while Brussels restricted UK access to the Galileo project. Writing for The Times Red Box, he called for Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, to reopen a £3bn deal with a German-led consortium to supply the army with armoured vehicles that was agreed in principle this year. Mr Southwell said that the contract had been signed in a “disturbing but unfortunately not unusual sequence” while British companies bidding for defence-related work in Europe were blocked by the EU. His claims were backed last night by Sir Michael Fallon, the former defence secretary, and John Spellar, the former armed forces minister.
“The government, and in particular the Treasury, are being boneheaded and refuse to accept how the rest of the world do business,” Mr Spellar said. “The Germans and French are trying to squeeze the UK out of the aerospace industry. The ministry is sending a signal that this doesn’t matter. We will be the suckers who buy things from them even if they cut us out. The civil service is letting Britain down.”
Sir Michael said: “Ministers need to get out of their silos. We must not miss the opportunity to ensure that our firms get as much access to EU markets as EU firms get to ours.”
Mr Southwell’s criticism will be uncomfortable for the government as he is a business ambassador for the prime minister, promoting British manufacturing and engineering exports. In his article, he accused Whitehall of failing to use the collective power of the state as leverage in negotiations. “Individual departments [negotiate] regularly with EU partners and have displayed a parochial insularity in their failure to link these deals to the wider Brexit talks,” he wrote. “The EU has blocked the UK from being involved in manufacturing the security elements of Galileo, the satellite navigation system, even though the UK can bring expertise and experience to a project of historic significance. So why does the UK not flex its muscles where it can?”
Mr Southwell said that he was concerned by Mr Williamson’s decision to enter into sole talks with Artec, a German-Dutch-led consortium, to supply 500 Boxer armoured transport vehicles for the army. “Why not make a lucrative contract dependent partly on the UK playing a role in Galileo?” he asked. “The UK has limited bargaining power. Why narrow it further by signing contracts as if in an alternative universe?”
Given that the MoD has said the contract had not been finalised, it should be reopened over EU intransigence on security and defence co-operation. “Gavin Williamson signed off the deal shortly after becoming defence secretary,” Mr Southwell wrote. “I hope he would not have done so if he had more time to reflect on the deal as providing vital leverage in the Brexit talks.” An MoD source said that 60 per cent of the new vehicles would be made in the UK, creating 1,000 jobs, and that having armed forces prepared for a potential conflict should outweigh concerns over EU contracts. (Source: The Times)
06 Aug 18. UK to enhance defence cooperation with Romania. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has unveiled measures to bolster defence cooperation with Romania in a bid to safeguard the European region. At a meeting with his counterpart Mihai Fifor in Bucharest, Williamson proposed the signing of a memorandum of understanding (MoU) by the end of this year to enhance UK-Romania defence co-operation. According to the Ministry of Defence, the British Army will support a Romanian-led Multinational Brigade (South-East), which is participating in a training exercise named Exercise Scorpions Fury and is part of Nato’s Forward Presence in the Black Sea. The move is aimed at deterring security threats in the region. Williamson said: “European security is our security and though we are leaving the EU our commitment to our allies remains steadfast. That is why we are accelerating our military collaboration with Romania, with whom we enjoy a strong relationship. Nato is the cornerstone of both our nations’ security and this deployment demonstrates the alliance’s collective resolve and readiness in a world of intensifying threats.”
He also met Romanian Prime Minister Viorica Dăncilă to discuss last month’s Nato summit and defence post-Brexit. His next pit stop was the Black Sea, where he met RAF crews who are flying Typhoon patrols as part of Nato’s Southern Air Policing mission. Last week, two RAF Typhoons were deployed from Romania to Hungary where they are engaged in bilateral exercises with the Hungarian military. (Source: army-technology.com)
06 Aug 18. Spectra Group and Inmarsat in partnership to take on Three Peaks Challenge to raise funds for Team Rubicon UK. On 31 August a team from Spectra Group, leading provider of specialist secure communications for austere locations, will be partnering with Inmarsat and Team Rubicon to complete the arduous Three Peaks Challenge. The team’s aim is to raise awareness and funds for the disaster relief charity, Team Rubicon UK. The Three Peaks (Ben Nevis, Scafell Pike and Snowdon) are the highest mountains in Scotland, England and Wales. The challenge is to climb all of these within a single 24-hour period; 23 miles of hiking/running with a total ascent of 10,052ft (3064 meters). For the 19-strong team the event will be an unforgettable challenge; to complete all three mountains in 24 hours involves little rest, detailed planning and coordination, and great determination. After climbing and descending Ben Nevis, the teams will be hiking in the dark on Scafell Pike and in the peak heat of the day on Snowdon, struggling to get their rest whilst travelling between mountains in the back of a minibus. The logistical support crew also have a tough job – they will drive the team over 460 miles between mountains, using the time in between to refuel, restock and prepare food. The challenge originated when, in 2015, Inmarsat committed to support Team Rubicon. As part of this, Inmarsat’s Damian Lewis deployed to the British Virgin Islands to support their disaster recovery after Hurricane Irma and on his return conceived #RunningforRubicon, a 12-month campaign consisting of monthly challenges, 3 of which are extreme solo events (Maratón Sierra Nevada, Oman Desert Marathon & Marathon Des Sables). August’s #RunningforRubicon challenge is the Three Peaks. As the mobile phone signals on the mountains is sparse, the team will carry a BGAN E510 terminal for reliable, seamless broadband and voice communications. They will also take the opportunity to use Spectra’s SlingShot® system in combination with Inmarsat’s L-TAC™ service for On The Move voice and data radio communications. The combination of SlingShot and L-TAC provides strategic, secure and global BLOS COTM (Beyond Line of Sight Communications On The Move) by extending the reach of VHF and UHF radios and is ideal for the mountainous conditions. This collaboration will enable the team to communicate, track their movement on the mountains and provide live tweeting.
The strength of the ongoing partnership between Spectra, Inmarsat and Team Rubicon is truly demonstrated by the level of support the 3 organisations are providing to this challenge. Not only are Spectra and Inmarsat collaborating to provide essential communications for the team on the mountains, but Simon Davies (CEO Spectra Group), Paul Gudonis (President, Inmarsat Enterprise), Diana Goody (VP, Inmarsat G2) and Richard Sharp (CEO Team Rubicon UK) will also be joining the team for this event.
Simon Davies, CEO of Spectra Group, stated: “We partner closely with Inmarsat on a day-to-day basis and have SlingShot equipment on the shelf, held in readiness to assist a Team Rubicon deployment should it be required. Team Rubicon carry out vital work at the most difficult time and in the most arduous environments. This is what Spectra is all about and so this personal challenge was an obvious one to get behind.”
George Crisp, Project Manager for Inmarsat Global Government, event manager for the #RunningforRubicon campaign, as well as a member of the team taking part said: “I am delighted that our partner, Spectra, will be joining us on the Three Peaks Challenge to help us work towards a common cause of raising £70,000 for the charity and to put our satcom kit to the test in remote and rugged environments. We recently conducted a recce of Snowdon (which will be our final peak) and managed to complete the walk well within the required time. We are increasing in confidence that we’ll complete the challenge successfully (traffic between peaks permitting), but teamwork and discipline will be key.”
Donations to support the Team Rubicon Fund Raising can be made through TotalGiving: https://www.totalgiving.co.uk/mypage/running4rubicon-threepeaks
06 Aug 18. Germany faces its worst security dilemma since the 1950s. The debate over the future of nuclear deterrence in Europe is simmering in Berlin. “First we got the bomb and that was good/’Cause we love peace and motherhood/Then Russia got the bomb, but that’s OK/’Cause the balance of power’s maintained that way!/Who’s next?” So begins an immortal song about nuclear proliferation written in the early 1960s by the now 90-year-old American satirist and mathematician Tom Lehrer. Answering his own question, he ticked off France, China, Indonesia, South Africa, Egypt and Israel, ending with the happy warble: “We’ll try to stay serene and calm/When Alabama gets the bomb!” The Deep South never did get the bomb, as far as we know. But could the next candidate be Germany? You might think so, given the excitement triggered by a recent front-page essay in a German weekend paper, headlined “Do We Need the Bomb?” and accompanied by an image of the US Fat Man bomb, which destroyed Nagasaki on August 9, 1945, overlaid with the colours of the German flag. It is an apt illustration of German security angst in the era of Donald Trump. Given the US president’s increasingly ambivalent attitude to Nato, the debate over nuclear deterrence in Europe has been simmering in Berlin for two years. This, in a country that struggles to invest 2 per cent of gross domestic product on defence and has an abiding dislike of all things nuclear. With good reason: Germany was a front-line state during the cold war, living with the dread of becoming a radioactive ash heap should the superpower stand-off ever turn into a full-blown war. In the nuclear Non-Proliferation Treaty of 1968 and the Two Plus Four Agreement of 1990, it pledged never to acquire nuclear weapons. It hosts US nuclear bombs on a German air base as part of Nato’s extended deterrence, but they are firmly under American control. Chancellor Angela Merkel even announced a plan to scrap the use of civilian nuclear power by 2022, after the catastrophe at the Fukushima nuclear power plant in Japan in 2011. Yet today’s debate is not about Germany acquiring a bomb. When the author of the aforementioned essay suggested this, experts swiftly denounced the idea as “reckless, foolish and incendiary”, in the words of a former deputy director of the Federal Intelligence Service. For a country so sensitive about finding itself isolated in Europe, such a step would be strategic suicide. No mainstream party would endorse it. All this does not mean the debate is not serious. A more viable proposal argues that Germany should convince nuclear powers France and Britain to provide a nuclear security guarantee for all of Europe by offering to co-finance it. A 2017 advisory assessment by the national legislature’s research service concluded this was legally feasible — and showed how far discussions had progressed among policymakers. Still, huge political, technological and financial obstacles would remain. A euro nuclear group in Nato, much less a nuclear-based European defence union, is a long way off. The notion that Europeans together might replace the US nuclear deterrent is fanciful. Germany now finds itself in the worst security dilemma since it rejoined the west in the 1950s by becoming a member of Nato and the EU. Its hoped-for strategic partners, Russia and China, are increasingly aggressive players in Europe. Within the EU, populists and authoritarians are challenging the liberal, postwar consensus. Even countries that share that ideal, such as France, Spain and the Baltic states, disagree about the future of the European project. America’s elites stand firm in defence of US security guarantees for Europe — but their president misses no opportunity to side with autocrats and show contempt for a rules-based order. Ms Merkel acknowledged as much when she said in a speech that Germany would have to “take its fate into its own hands more”. Foreign minister Heiko Maas is championing a global alliance of like-minded middle powers. Fine. But if Germany wants to be taken seriously by the US and trusted in Europe, its leaders also need to get serious about conventional defence — and convince sceptical voters that this is necessary, and urgent. (Source: FT.com)
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