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03 Aug 18. Swedish government greenlights Patriot deal. The Swedish government has greenlighted a deal to buy Raytheon-made Patriot air and missile defense systems from the U.S. government after Swedish opposition leaders questioned whether Sweden could actually pay for the systems. The FMV, the Swedish Ministry of Defence’s armaments directorate, announced August 2 that it had been authorized by the government to move forward on an agreement with the U.S. to purchase four Patriot systems. The Swedish government announced its decision to buy Patriot in November 2017 after evaluating it against the French consortium Eurosam’s SAMP/T. Sweden anticipated the contract would be roughly 10bn krona (U.S. $1.2bn). The U.S. State Department then approved the possible foreign military sale to Sweden in February for an estimated total of $3.2bn. But tight budget constraints for defense in Sweden caused opposition leaders to question the government’s capacity, or willingness, to release sufficient funding to the military to cover the procurement of the Patriot system. Organizational strength assessments from the Swedish Armed Forces for the Ministry of Defence, suggested the military lacked adequate funding in 2019-2020 to cover its day-to-day operational needs or move forward with key procurement programs like Patriot. The opposition leaders proposed an alternative solution that would see the Patriot program funded through a special allocation separate from the main defense budget. According to a Swedish government announcement, a U.S. offer to purchase Patriot delivered to Sweden in April this year promises to deliver Patriot to two Swedish air defense battalions before 2025. It is unclear if Sweden will pay for the systems using special funding or through its base defense budget. A letter of agreement between the two countries is expected soon, according to sources. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
03 Aug 18. Japan, Greece discuss defence trade co-operation. Japan and Greece have held preliminary talks about co-operation in defence trade and technology, with a view to possibly supporting Japanese exports to the European country. A spokesperson from the Japanese Ministry of Defense’s Acquisition, Technology & Logistics Agency (ATLA) told Jane’s on 2 August that the two countries had “exchanged views on defence equipment and technology co-operation at [a] working level”. Reports in Japan in late July said Greece had expressed interest in Japanese company ShinMaywa Industries’ US-2 amphibious search-and-rescue (SAR) aircraft. The Nikkei Asian Review newspaper reported that Japan is looking to begin negotiations with Greece about the potential sale. According to the report, Greece wants to procure “several dozen” US-2 aircraft, which would be fitted with water tanks and used principally in fire-fighting operations. However, the ATLA spokesperson said Japan and Greece had not yet discussed specific platforms and technologies and that Tokyo had “no specific plan” to export the US-2 to Greece. In the past Japan has had discussions with both India and Indonesia about the potential export of the US-2 SAR aircraft. Thailand has also expressed interest in the platform. The biggest opportunity for such a sale is likely to be to the Indian Navy, which has a stated requirement for 12 US-2 aircraft for an estimated USD1.6bn. Japan and India have been engaged in talks about a potential sale of the aircraft for several years. Delays have been attributed to India’s complex procurement rules and discussions on technology transfers and offsets. Jane’s has previously reported that the Indian Navy plans to directly import two US-2 aircraft and assemble and licence build the remaining 10 in collaboration with a private-sector Indian manufacturer. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
03 Aug 18. Despite Brexit, Leonardo sees a way the UK Tempest fighter could win EU funding. The U.K.’s new Tempest fighter, planned as Britain nears its exit from the European Union, may still benefit from funding provided by the EU, according to one of the partners. Britain’s launch of the Tempest at the Farnborough Airshow last month follows plans by France and Germany to build their own new fighter, reflecting the rift caused by the Brexit referendum in 2016. Firms due to work on the Tempest include BAE Systems, MBDA, Rolls-Royce and Leonardo, which is an Italian firm but one that employs 7,000 staff in the U.K. Italy and Sweden are possible national partners on the program. The program would appear to be excluded from receiving funding from the EU’s new defense fund thanks to Brexit. But if EU partners do sign up, then the organization’s cash might yet be used, said Giovanni Soccodato, head of strategy, markets and business development at Leonardo.
“If, for example, Italy, Germany and Sweden were on the program and firms in those three countries were working on a thermal hood (camera) using EU defense funds, why could it not be used also on the Tempest?” he said.
Nor did he believe Brexit would pose a threat to Leonardo’s work on the Tempest. “I imagine there could be ad hoc trade deals,” he said. “Ultimately, there could be a convergence between Tempest and the Franco-German project — it is difficult to think of EU programs with no U.K. input.”
Italy has not signed up to the Tempest project, but Norman Bone, chairman and managing director of Leonardo in the UK, told Defense News at Farnborough: “We would desperately like Italy to come along.”
Added Soccodato: “Not for me to say, but both Italy and the U.K. have the Tornado, Eurofighter and F-35, so there is sense in them both working towards the Tempest.” He added that Leonardo’s electronics facilities in the U.K. might tackle sensor, data link, electronic warfare and armaments integration work on the program. While MBDA could work on laser weapons for the fighter, Leonardo could also be involved thanks to its laser research at its Edinburgh facility in Scotland. “That said, it’s premature to say who will do what, although Leonardo is best positioned handling over 60 percent of the avionics on the Eurofighter,” he added.
Radar on the fighter would likely integrate electronic warfare capability, he said, and be conformal, meaning arrays can be distributed around the hull of the aircraft. With plans for optionally manned flight, Leonardo’s work on remote control and sense-and-avoid UAV technology could be used, he noted. (Source: Defense News)
02 Aug 18. French armed forces minister reveals arms export details, roadblocks to lawmakers. This year’s tally of French arms exports will include design studies for attack submarines for Australia as well as helicopter and Rafale fighter jet deals sealed with Qatar, according to Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly.
“A certain number of significant contracts were concluded this year,” she told the Committee for National Defense and Armed Forces of the lower-house National Assembly, according to recently released transcripts from July 4. “Arms exports are the economic model of our sovereignty.”
The helicopter deal with Qatar is worth some €1bn (U.S. $1.2bn), while a large submarine design contract with Australia is expected to be signed “at the beginning of autumn,” she said. That signing will show the Australian program deserves to be named “contract of the century,” despite those who said the value has so far failed to meet expectations, she asserted. A contract for a “motorized capability” is also due to be signed this year with Belgium, part of France’s “strategic partnership” with the neighboring state, she said. Qatar signed a “substantial” contract in February for a further 12 Rafale fighters, she added. The minister said she was unable to give figures for the big export deals expected this year. Export deals require bank support, but commercial banks are “rather nervous” about lending for arms contracts, reflecting regulatory pressure and demands for corporate social responsibility from shareholders, she said. Parly pledged to discuss financial support with the Economy and Finance Ministry, particularly to help small and medium enterprises. Bpifance, the state-backed lender, is the main actor in financial support for selling weapons to foreign clients.
The Armed Forces Ministry will recruit 400 staff to handle applications for arms export licenses, with 267 personnel for the Direction Générale de l’Armement procurement office and 133 for the armed services, said Parly. That recruitment will gradually rise between 2019 and 2022, with a major drive in 2023, she said. There have been “a few bugs” in the Sigale software used to process license applications, but these are being fixed, she said. Parliamentarian Jean-Michel Jacques said the delay in handling applications has led to many companies losing deals. Export will be a key factor in the midlife upgrade of the MBDA Mica air-to-air missile. Innovation in guidance and propulsion systems, surface-to-air capabilities in the vertical launch version “and its resilience to (U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations) give strong export potential for the Mica Next Generation,” the Armed Forces ministry said in a July 24 statement. Those export prospects were factored into contract negotiations for the Mica NG, with France seeking to better share “the funding and expected benefits,” the ministry said. MBDA, Safran and Thales will “very heavily” finance development, and there will be a mechanism for price cuts for French purchases pegged to the missile hitting export targets, the ministry said. Mica NG will replace the present Mica weapon, which will be withdrawn from service from 2018-2030, with the new armament to be delivered from 2026-2031, the ministry said. The weapon will arm Mirage 2000 and Rafale fighters flown by the Air Force and Navy. A July 24 meeting of the ministerial investment committee agreed to a launch of the Mica NG program, clearing the way for a contract to be signed. Asked about holding an annual parliamentary debate on arms exports as conducted in the U.K., Parly said it was up to the French parliament to arrange such a discussion rather than the government. Arms exports are not a “decorative” feature, but a capability to take action, Parly said. Governments change, and once weapons are sold, they cannot be “unsold,” she noted, evoking the example of Argentinians firing French Exocet missiles on “our British ally” in 1982 in the war over the Falkland Islands. France sold military equipment worth €6.7bn last year, half the €13.9bn in 2016. (Source: Defense News)
02 Aug 18. France could replace US parts in SCALP missile to circumvent ITAR restrictions for Egypt, but at some delay. Egypt could still receive MBDA SCALP cruise missiles from France, if it is willing to accept a delay while US-manufactured components are replaced with French ones. Answering questions on weapons exports in the country’s National Assembly, French Defence Minister Florence Parly said that the decision by the United States to use the International Trade in Arms Regulation (ITAR) agreement to block the sale of the air-launched land-attack cruise missile to Egypt could be circumvented if domestically-built parts are used instead, but that this would take time.
“In this case, we will not be able to lift the US opposition to the sale of SCALP missiles [to Egypt]. The only thing we can do is for MBDA to make some investment in research and development to be able to manufacture similar components that are not covered by ITAR,” Parly said during a 4 July session of the assembly, a transcript of which was recently published. “We can do it for the Egyptian SCALP/Rafale in so far as the new missile can be built with a reasonable delay, though the customer might find this delay a bit too long,” she added, without quantifying the length of the delay.
As noted by Parly in her response, the issue of the ITAR regulation is not just affecting the sale of the SCALP missile to Egypt, but also of the Dassault Rafale that will carry it. Cairo is looking to add to the 24 aircraft it has already procured from Paris with 12 more, with these additional platforms being equipped with the SCALP missile. According to reports, the Egyptian government will not sign for the new aircraft unless the missiles are included. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
01 Aug 18. A jet sale to Egypt is being blocked by a US regulation, and France is over it. France is seeking to reduce its reliance on U.S. approval for French arms exports as Washington withholds clearance for an American component on the French Scalp cruise missile, which blocks the sale of additional Rafale fighter jets to Egypt. “It is true that we depend on this (U.S. International Traffic in Arms Regulations) mechanism: We are at the mercy of the Americans when our equipment is concerned,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told the Committee for National Defense and Armed Forces of the lower-house National Assembly, according to recently released transcripts from July 4. France lacks the means to be totally independent of the U.S., she said, adding that French authorities are looking for ways to boost its autonomy. Parly was answering a question from parliamentarian Jean-Jacques Ferrara on the blocked sale of a further batch of Rafale aircraft to Egypt.
“Are we looking to improve the situation?” Parly said. “The answer is yes. In the case raised by Mr. Ferrara, we cannot get the U.S. to lift its opposition to the sale of Scalp missiles.”
“What is the solution? That the manufacturer of these missiles, namely MBDA, make the investment in research and technology to be able to make a similar component, which would avoid ITAR,” she added.” “We are able to do it for this contract because the component can be built within a reasonable amount of time even if the client, naturally, sees it as too long.” MBDA declined to comment for this story. The ministry needs to adopt a more systematic approach — one that involves talking to industry as well as the Economy and Finance Ministry “to analyze” French dependence on the U.S., she said. French authorities need to identify key components at risk due to U.S. refusal of clearance, she added, as well as how France can protect itself from American legislation, which successive U.S. administrations could use in policy shifts in response to factors beyond the control of France.
French President Emmanuel Macron sought to convince his U.S. counterpart, Donald Trump, to provide clearance for the cruise missile component during the former’s state visit to Washington in April, according to a French defense source, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The source also claimed Trump recommended French experts talk to their American counterparts to work out the clearance, but that it didn’t resolve the issue. The U.S is the world leader in arms exports, accounting for more than a third of total foreign military sales, Parly told parliamentarians.
“That has been the case for more than 70 years, and it looks like that will continue for some time,” she said. European nations will need to buy a little less from America to slightly reduce that supremacy, she said, adding that European states will be able to find European equipment due to initiatives being taken to promote European defense. Europe could negotiate within the framework of ITAR to be less dependent on the U.S. and promote European autonomy and procurement, she said. “But we know very well that things are not going to change tomorrow,” she added. Macron has asked for a French equivalent of the U.S. Foreign Military Sales program, which eases the way for government-to-government deals, she said. Client nations prefer that latter approach rather than dealing with companies.
The French Armed Forces and Economics and Finance ministries have drafted a framework agreement that will likely be adopted as the model for an intergovernmental arms contract, backed by a public tender and observing national and European law, she said. The U.S. has been relaxing its rules on arms exports, with the State Department adopting the Conventional Arms Transfer policy, which eases the way for companies to directly pitch some types of weapons and drones without having to go to Washington for official approval. The U.S. is expected to rack up foreign arms deals worth about $47bn this year; in 2017, the State Department approved $42bn in government-to-government sales. France sold military equipment worth €6.7bn (U.S. $7.8bn) last year, half the €13.9bn in 2016. (Source: Defense News)
01 Aug 18. NATO Using New Mission Set to Address Southern Flank. Peace, stability and the rule of law are at the heart of security, and the NATO alliance is using a non-traditional effort called NATO Strategic Direction South to encourage this process. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg declared the organization, also known as the Hub for the South, fully operational following the Brussels Summit July 12. The commander of NATO’s Allied Joint Force Command Naples, Italy, Navy Adm. James G. Foggo III, said the hub is a “totally different mission set” for the alliance. The organization was formally established in September. “We are manned for 80 people at the headquarters … and the NATO goal for the Hub for the South is to complete the 360-degree comprehensive approach to security and stability operations,” the admiral said. NATO has done an excellent job of security operations in Europe’s north and east, where Russia is the prime disturber of the peace, Foggo said. “The area where we need to continue to work is in the strategic direction south,” he said.
NATO’s Southern Flank
NATO’s southern flank has a different set of dangers. Transnational threats such as terrorism, drug gangs, human traffickers and weapons smugglers take advantage of ungoverned or loosely governed areas in the Middle East, North Africa and the Sahel to threaten peace inside NATO allies. Creating stability and security in those regions requires different tools than deterring Russia, and the Hub for the South is designed to provide those tools, officials said. It is the hub of a network of people and organizations dedicated to helping nations on NATO’s southern flank build the infrastructures needed to sustain security, promote the rule of law and encourage economic gains. The migration of people from North Africa and the Middle East is not a problem in and of itself, Foggo said, but it is a symptom of larger problems throughout the region. Getting at those problems will change the migration dynamic, he said.
“There are other ways to get at this question of governance, rule of law and stability, and that is through the Hub sponsorship of connecting, consulting and coordinating,” the admiral said.
The hub aims to contribute to coordination, synchronization and deconfliction of NATO’s activities across the south, while optimizing resources and maximizing effectiveness, officials said. Hub personnel examined the drivers of instability in the region and that pointed to what the organization can do to help with governance and rule of law, Foggo said.
“The nations struggling with training of police, military, border security, justice … we can provide them with a non-governmental organization or a state actor that can help build a stronger judiciary that can help provide equitable justice,” he said. “Also, we are trying to connect with a number of different organization on the continent, in Europe and America who want to help.”
Additionally the hub is building awareness of the extent of the problems in the area.
“There is a broad spectrum of think tanks and organizations that understand Africa better than we do, and we are leveraging that,” the admiral said. “Many of these organizations are helping us pro bono. They are interested in what NATO is trying to do.”
People and organizations are beginning to understand the resources of the hub, he said. Still there are some misconceptions.
“A lot of folks think the hub is just about migration: That’s incorrect,” Foggo said. “People migrate from their homes because they don’t feel safe. Our goal is to try to make people feel safer by helping nations, or people, or places have better governance, better rule of law so they can live in peace and have a family, educate their children and have economic prosperity. In some places, … they can’t do that right now because there is lawlessness.” (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @GaramoneDODNews)
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