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24 Jul 18. Armed Forces Pay: Above Inflation Increase. The Chief Secretary to the Treasury announced (24 Jul 18) that members of the Armed Forces are to receive an above inflation increase of 2.9% “to reflect the brilliant work they do for our Country”. Comment: Pay for all Armed Forces Regular and Reservist personnel up to the rank of Brigadier (one star) and equivalent was reformed from 1 Apr 16. Pay for the more senior Officers (two star and above) is decided by the Review Body on Senior Salaries in comparison with the Senior Civil Service, the Judiciary, parts of the National Health Service and some Police appointments. Further details will be published as they become available. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
24 Jul 18. No 11 Group RAF: New Formation. The Armed Forces’ Minister confirmed (24 Jul 18) that the new No 11 Group RAF “will provide command and control of air, space and cyber operations with a specific focus on UK based operations”. No 11 Group will be based on the National Air and Space Operations Centre at RAF High Wycombe while work is being undertaken to finalise the details of other units and organisations in the composition of the Group. Comment: The formation of a new No 11 Group was announced by the Chief of the Air Staff (CAS) at the Air Power Conference (11 Jul 18). CAS described how the Group will integrate the National Air and Space Operations Centre with the Air Battle Staff under a single commander for all operational command, intelligence and information capabilities. No 11 Group will provide faster and better decision-making, working across air, space and cyber “from acquisition to operational delivery”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
24 Jul 18. Typhoon: UK-Qatar Joint Squadron. The Defence Secretary hosted the Amir of Qatar at the ‘standing-up’ ceremony of the UK-Qatar Joint Typhoon Squadron (12 Squadron) on 24 Jul 18. The event, held at Horse Guards, marked an “important milestone” in the Defence relationship between Qatar and the UK. No 12 Squadron will provide the Qatari Amiri Air Force (QAAF) with experience of operating Typhoon in preparation for the first delivery of QAAF aircraft in 2022. Comment: 12 Squadron will start to integrate Qatari personnel from 2019 onwards, as part of a contract agreed in December 2017 to supply Qatar with 24 Typhoon aircraft and nine Hawk T2 aircraft. The Qatari personnel will be stationed initially at RAF Coningsby and then in Qatar. 12 Squadron was previously a Tornado GR4 squadron which ‘stood-down’ in March 2018, before reforming as a Joint Squadron with the QAAF. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
20 Jul 18. Australia-UK: Joint Ministerial. The Foreign Secretary and the Defence Secretary hosted their Australian counterparts (20 Jul 18) for the tenth Australia-UK Ministerial Meeting (AUKMIN). A joint statement covered a number of issues, including: protecting the rules-based international system; promoting human rights; co-operation to advance global prosperity and sustainability as well as joint work on shared security challenges. Comment: During the previous day (19 Jul 18) the Defence Secretary and Australia’s Defence Minister toured BAE System’s shipyard at Govan where the Type 26 frigates are being built. Australia has selected the Type 26 frigate, to fulfil the SEA 5000 programme to deliver nine future frigates for the Royal Australian Navy, under a contract worth some £20,000m. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
27 Jul 18. Jordan: Donation of Equipment. The Defence Secretary delivered a Written Statement to the House of Commons in which he described “the provision of equipment and infrastructure worth £13.3m to the Jordanian Armed Forces” that was not previously notified. The equipment and ‘infrastructure’ provided ranged from armoured 4×4 vehicles and protective clothing to administration, accommodation, training and logistics buildings. Comment: The above assistance was in addition to that previously noted. The Defence Secretary’s Statement ended that the MoD had “conducted a detailed examination of the errors made and has taken robust measures to ensure that an oversight such as this does not occur again.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
24 Jul 18. Type 31e Frigates: Procurement Suspended. The MoD announced (24 Jul 18) a delay in the procurement of the Type 31e frigate due to a lack of compliant bids. An MoD spokesman said (25 Jul 18) it remained confident that “industry will meet the challenge of providing them for the price tag we’ve set. This is an early contract in a wider procurement process, and we will incorporate the lessons learned and begin again as soon as possible.” Comment: The Type 31e programme was launched in September 2017 against a requirement for an initial order for five ships at a maximum average price of £250m each. The competitive process was to begin in 2018 with the award of a single design and build contract in 2019. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
24 Jul 18. Defence Estate: Statement. The Defence People and Veterans Minister provided an update (24 Jul 18) on A Better Defence Estate which was published in November 2016 and outlined how the MoD will deliver an estate optimised to support Defence. As part of the disposals programme RAF Scampton, home of the RAF aerobatics team (the Red Arrows), is set to close in 2022. The Red Arrows and other units will be moved “to locations more fit for purpose”. RAF Linton-on-Ouse, where Tucano training aircraft are based, will also close in 2020. As the RAF plans to retire the Tucano, the site will be redundant and training will be focused at RAF Valley from 2019. Comment: Delivering the strategy set out in ‘A Better Defence Estate’ remains a priority for the MoD along with the commitment to invest £4,000m “to create a smaller, more modern and capability-focused estate between now and 2040.” (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
23 Jul 18. Defence Fire and Rescue Project (DFRP): Legal Challenge. The MoD confirmed (23 Jul 18) that it had received notification of a legal challenge to the contract award for the outsourcing of the DFRP and that “contract award has been suspended until the legal challenge to the procurement is resolved”. The challenge has been made by Serco which lost out to Capita Business Services for the DFRP contract announced in June 2018. Comment: The MoD declared its intention to award the 12-year DFRP contract, worth some £550m, to Capita on 21 Jun 18. According to media reports, Serco launched the challenge after it was revealed that Capita had received a less favourable rating than Serco in a risk assessment report commissioned by the MoD. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
20 Jul 18. MoD Report & Accounts: Publication. The Ministry of Defence Annual Report and Accounts 2017 to 2018 was published on 20 Jul 18 as HC 1272. The document can be accessed via the Government web portal (www.gov.uk). Comment: Those with an interest in procurement issues may also wish to see the ‘Infrastructure and Projects Authority Annual Report 2018’ published on 4 Jul 18. The report, available via the Government web portal, features Delivery Confidence Assessments for 37 MoD projects. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/28, 30 Jul 18)
26 Jul 18. Italy minister says defence spending set to fall further next year. Italian defence spending will come in at just 1.15 percent of gross domestic product (GDP) this year and will fall further in 2019, Foreign Minister Enzo Moavero Milanese said on Thursday, undercutting U.S. efforts to boost military budgets. U.S. President Donald Trump said earlier this month that other members of the NATO military alliance had promised big spending pledges after warning that Washington could withdraw its support for the partnership if Europe didn’t do more. Italian Defence minister Elisabetta Trenta recently said in an interview to Defence News that she had told U.S. national security adviser John Bolton that Italy aims to reach NATO’s defence spending target of 2 percent of GDP. (Source: Reuters)
26 Jul 18. Japan indicates possible Tempest collaboration with UK. Japan is considering engaging with the United Kingdom on its newly disclosed Combat Air Strategy and its plans to develop the Tempest future fighter aircraft, a model of which was unveiled at the 2018 Farnborough International Airshow in mid-July. This engagement will proceed through Japan’s continuing programme to evaluate options in support of its plan to replace the Japan Air Self-Defense Force’s (JASDF’s) Mitsubishi F-2 fighters. Citing Japanese defence minister Itsunori Onodera, the Ministry of Defense (MoD) in Tokyo confirmed in a recent statement that Japan and the UK have had an “exchange of opinions” about the possibility of a joint air combat project to meet the JASDF’s requirements. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
25 Jul 18. U.S. general says future UK fighter jet must be compatible with F-35. The top U.S. Air Force general in Europe on Wednesday said it was critical to ensure any future British fighter jet was compatible with the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter built by Lockheed Martin for a number of U.S. allies, including Britain. General Tod Wolters, commander of U.S. and NATO air forces in Europe, told reporters on a teleconference that he had watched Britain’s unveiling of a new fighter jet development effort electronically from afar, but had not spoken with UK officials specifically about the new combat aircraft programme. UK officials launched the new Tempest fighter jet programme last week at the Farnborough Airshow outside London. Wolters said officials from both countries had discussed future combat air capabilities in the past, and agreed on the need to ensure any new systems could work with existing weapons.
“One of the key ingredients that has to go into any future systems is to make sure that it’s interoperable with existing systems and certainly the systems that UK is embracing,” he said, referring to Britain’s growing fleet of F-35 fighter jets. “As the UK decides to go forward with a system that could be called Tempest, we would hope that it would be as interoperable as possible with the great system that they’ve just acquired … the F-35B,” he said.
He said he was certain that Britain was looking very closely at the issue, which he called “critical”.
Britain has said it is looking for international partners for the new development programme, and is already in discussions with Sweden, Japan and other countries. Wolters sidestepped a question on whether the United States could also play a role. He did announce plans to bring U.S. radar-evading, or fifth-generation, aircraft to Europe in the coming months to continue efforts to integrate those capabilities with fifth-generation aircraft operated by allies, and with older fourth-generation weapons in Europe. He declined to provide details on whether the F-35 or F-22, both radar-evading aircraft, would be brought to Europe, or when. The deployment would also help U.S. and allied officials hone planning for potential future wars, including the ability to detect enemy strikes, and to command and control military forces, he said. Military sources said the deployment could mirror one launched in April 2017, when eight U.S. Air Force F-35A aircraft were sent to RAF Lakenheath, followed by smaller training missions to Estonia and Romania. (Source: Reuters)
24 Jul 18. Contest to build a ‘budget frigate’ on hold as MoD runs out of funds. Government plans to buy a “budget frigate” within five years have been thrown into chaos after a competition to build the warship was suspended amid a funding crisis. Sources warned last night that the Type 31e frigate may never materialise. It is a serious blow for the Royal Navy, which needs at least five of the ships to maintain the size of its surface fleet. Shipbuilders and yards in the running for the £1.25bn contract were taken by surprise when the Ministry of Defence announced the freeze on Friday, just as they prepared to finalise their respective ship designs. Defence Equipment and Support, the branch of the MoD in charge of buying kit, claimed that there had not been enough “compliant bids”. Industry insiders disputed this, saying that a failure by Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, to secure new money by the summer to fund his ambitions for the armed forces had thrown into doubt a range of equipment contracts. They noted that bidders for the frigate work had been waiting to receive funding from the MoD to start the competitive design phase. This should have happened by May, with initial construction targeted for next spring. Instead there was silence then the freeze. The MoD said that the competition would be restarted soon but sources said that the delay would probably be at least a year, undermining a plan to deliver the first of the new ships by 2023. Defence experts agreed. “It is cloud-cuckoo-land,” Admiral Lord West of Spithead, a former head of the Royal Navy, said. Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis, said: “It’s impossible.” Paul Beaver, a defence analyst, said: “It has taken three years to get to a point where they appear to need to start again. This is not smart procurement.” There were at least three consortiums in the competition: one was led by Babcock, one comprised BAE Systems and Cammell Laird and the third included Atlas Elektronik UK. Aside from the question of funding, it is understood that officials at Defence Equipment and Support were starting to realise that a cheap warship without the array of expensive radars, sensors and weapons would struggle to operate in submarine-infested waters. During Sir Michael Fallon’s time as defence secretary a funding shortage for the equipment programme worsened, scuppering plans to buy a full fleet of 13 more sophisticated but expensive Type 26 frigates. Instead he signed off on a 2015 plan to purchase eight Type 26 frigates and five cheaper versions. A failure by the MoD to secure new warships into service by 2023 will leave the Royal Navy without 13 operational frigates as the ageing Type 23 warships start to be brought out of service. A spokeswoman for the MoD said: “This is an early contract in a wider procurement process and we will incorporate the lessons learnt and begin again as soon as possible so the programme can continue at pace.” (Source: The Times) BATTLESPACE Comment: When the Type 31e was first mooted the Editor was reminded of the late great Antony Preston, the Naval Editor of Defence magazine and award winning author. He used to visibly fume when the words ‘Alexander Giles’ and the ‘Short Fat Frigate’ were mentioned! The Type 31e is very reminiscent of the ‘Short Fat Frigate’ project which died a death for the very same reasons that the design was not seen as robust enough to defend itself in submarine infested waters! Good news for BAE Systems as no doubt, after the Australian decision and the strong possibility of being chosen by Canada, it will be full steam ahead for more Type 26 frigates for the Royal Navy at a more competitive price than originally quoted! Not such good news for Babcock!
23 Jul 18. Jim Mattis warns Congress not to block Turkey from F-35 program. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis is urging Congress not to bar Turkey from purchasing the Lockheed Martin F-35, arguing that to do so would trigger an international “supply chain disruption” resulting in delays and higher costs for the $100m aircraft.
“At this time, I oppose removal of Turkey from the F-35 program,” Mattis said in a letter to lawmakers negotiating over the 2019 National Defense Authorization Act. Turkey, a NATO ally who has invested $1.25bn in the program since 2002, plans to buy 100 aircraft. “If the Turkish supply chain was disrupted today, it would result in an aircraft production break, delaying delivery of 50-75 F-35s, and would take approximately 18-24 months to re-source parts and recover.”
Pentagon plans call for acquiring a total of 2,456 F-35s. Allies are expected to purchase hundreds of additional F-35s, and eight nations, including Japan, South Korea, Denmark and Norway, are cost-sharing partners in the program with the U.S. The Senate’s defense policy and appropriations bills include language to delay sales of the jet to Turkey over its plans to buy the Russian S-400 air defense system and its detainment of American pastor Andrew Brunson. Mattis, in the July 7 letter, assured lawmakers the Trump administration was pressing Turkey on both issues and acknowledged Congress’s concerns with Turkey’s “authoritarian drift and its impact on human rights and the rule of law.”
NATO officials have warned of “necessary consequences” for Turkey should it purchase the S-400, which cannot be made interoperable with NATO and U.S. assets deployed in Turkish territory. Turkish officials have threatened reprisals if the U.S. cuts it off from the F-35 and have defended the choice to buy the Russian S-400 missile defense system as the second-best option only because NATO allies declined to sell Western hardware. A copy of Mattis’s letter, previously reported by Bloomberg, was provided to Defense News on Monday. U.S. Senators Bob Corker, R-Tenn., and Bob Menendez, D-N.J., the chairman and ranking member of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee, have introduced bipartisan legislation to restrict loans from international financial institutions to Turkey until the Turkish government ends what they call the “unjust” detention of U.S. citizens. They are expected to consider it in committee this week.(Source: Defense News)
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