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01 Sep 18. USITC to Investigate Trade-Related Barriers Affecting Exports of U.S. Small-and Medium-Sized Enterprises to the UK. The U.S. International Trade Commission (USITC) is seeking input for a new general factfinding investigation on trade-related barriers that small- and medium-sized enterprises (SMEs) perceive as disproportionately affecting U.S. SMEs exporting to the United Kingdom (UK), compared to larger U.S. exporters to the UK. The U.S. Trade Representative requested the investigation, U.S. SME Exports: Trade-Related Barriers Affecting Exports of U.S. Small- and Medium-Sized Enterprises to the United Kingdom, in a letter received on August 3, 2018. As requested, the USITC, an independent, nonpartisan, factfinding federal agency, will catalog trade-related barriers faced by U.S. SMEs exporting manufactured products, agricultural goods, and services to the UK. The report will:
- focus primarily on barriers identified by U.S. SMEs that have experience in exporting to the UK, either directly or through supply chains;
- identify barriers by economic sector or by special issue to the degree practicable; and
- build on four previous SME studies that were released by the USITC in 2010 and 2014.
The USITC expects to submit its report to the USTR by July 31, 2019. The USITC is seeking input for its new investigation from all interested parties and requests that the information contain specific trade-related barriers faced by U.S. SMEs exporting to the UK. The USITC will hold a public hearing in connection with the investigation at 9:30 AM on February 26, 2019. Requests to appear at the public hearing should be filed no later than 5:15 PM on February 11, 2019, with the Secretary, U.S. International Trade Commission, 500 E Street, S.W., Washington DC 20436. The USITC also welcomes written submissions for the record. Written submissions should be addressed to the Secretary to the Commission at the above address and should be submitted at the earliest practical data but no later than 5:15 PM on March 15, 2019. All written submissions, except for confidential business information, will be available for public inspection. (Source: glstrade.com)
30 Aug 18. Turkey rejects proposal to give up S-400 in exchange for F-35s. Key Points:
- Turkey has accused the US of using threatening language regarding Russian S-400s
- The Turkish-US crisis has whet the appetite of Russia and Iran, which both offer Ankara joint fighter production
Turkish Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu has reacted to a proposal by a US congressional delegation that visited Ankara on 27 August to abandon the purchase of the Russian S-400 missile defence system in return for Washington unblocking Turkey’s procurement of F-35 fighter jets by calling on the United States to stop using threatening language, adding that such issues cannot be handled “like in cowboy films”.
“Turkey is in urgent need of an air defence system to defend itself,” Cavusoglu said during a visit to Vilnius, Lithuania, on 28 August (Source: Defense News Early Bird/IHS Jane’s)
29 Aug 18. Romania: OP BILOXI. The RAF handed over responsibility for the NATO Enhanced Air Policing mission in Romania to the Royal Canadian Air Force during a ceremony at Mihail Logălniceanu Air Base on 29 Aug 18. A detachment of four Typhoon aircraft from 135 Expeditionary Air Wing has been based in Southeast Romania since April 2018. During the deployment, known as OP BILOXI, the RAF conducted eight scrambles in response to a total of 20 Russian aircraft flying towards Romanian air space. The detachment has also conducted exercises with Bulgarian, Croatian, Hungarian, Romanian and US military forces.
Comment: The Defence Secretary visited RAF personnel deployed on OP BILOXI in Romania on 2 Aug 18. It was the Defence Secretary’s first visit to the country since taking up his appointment in November 2017. The RAF’s mission in Romania has now concluded but further Air Policing missions will be undertaken over Estonia and Iceland in 2019. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
29 Aug 18. Chad and Niger: New Embassies. The Prime Minister announced (29 Aug 18) that the UK intends to expand its diplomatic presence in the Sahel with the opening of two new embassies in Chad and Niger. The announcement was made during the Prime Minister’s three-day (28 to 31 Aug 18) trip to South Africa, Nigeria and Kenya, accompanied by Ministers from the FCO and the Department for International Trade.
Comment: The expansion of the UK’s diplomatic presence in Africa includes increased Defence and development engagement in the region “creating new partnerships and opportunities and reducing potential threats to UK and European security”. In addition to the two new embassies detailed above, the UK will also have a much larger presence at the embassy in Mali. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
29 Aug 18. Nigeria: Security and Defence Partnership. The Prime Minister launched (29 Aug 18) a new UK-Nigeria security and defence partnership which will introduce “a series of new initiatives to help Nigeria defeat Boko Haram and Islamic State West Africa”. Under the new partnership the UK will expand its provision of equipment and training for the Nigerian military to help protect against the threat of improvised explosive devices. In addition, the UK has also offered to train full army units (rather than individuals) before they deploy to fight terrorism in North East Nigeria.
Comment: The above agreement also sets out plans to strengthen policing, reduce piracy in the Gulf of Guinea and tackle organised crime and corruption. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
30 Aug 18. Kenya: Training Facility. The Prime Minister visited (30 Aug 18) the UK-funded counter improvised explosive device (C-IED) training facility at the Humanitarian Peace Support School in Nairobi. Training is offered to Kenyan security forces and other African Union Mission in Somalia (AMISOM) troop-contributing nations in the region. It is anticipated that, by November 2020, the facility will have developed into an independent centre of excellence where East African instructors will provide specialist C-IED training.
Comment: 1,000 military and police personnel from East Africa have been trained by the British Army in C-IED techniques since 2015. In the same period the use of IEDs in Somalia has increased by some 300%. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
02 Aug 18. HMS DEFENDER: Returns to The Fleet. The RN reported (2 Aug 18) that HMS DEFENDER was formally welcomed back to the Fleet at the end of July 2018 following her refit and sea trials. Although specific details of the work undertaken cannot be released, it included the fitting of two new gas turbines, as well as new signals intelligence and surveillance equipment.
Comment: The Type 45 destroyer returned to sea in May 2018 following an 18-month refit. HMS DEFENDER is described as “the most capable Type 45 in the Fleet” now that she has returned to operational duties. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
02 Aug 18. HMS KENT: Refit Complete. The RN confirmed (2 Aug 18) that the Type 23 frigate HMS KENT has returned to her home port of Portsmouth following a major overhaul by Babcock in Devonport. The ship has been fitted with the Sea Ceptor missile system, replacing Sea Wolf, as well as a new command system. HMS KENT is now undergoing trials to test her new equipment before resuming operational duties.
Comment: Type 23 frigates are undergoing a major life extension (LIFEX) programme which began in 2015. The LIFEX programme brings together major changes to equipment and systems as well as extending the life of the hull and superstructure. The ships were originally designed with a service life of around 18 years but will now serve for about 30 years until the arrival of Type 26 and Type 31 vessels. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
23 Aug 18. Army: Divisional Strengths. The Minister of State for the Armed Forces stated (23 Jul 18) Divisional level strengths of the Army. As at 1 Apr 18: 1st (UK) Division had a strength of 11,200; 3rd (UK) Division – 14,050 and Force Troops Command – 18,250. Figures are for ‘Trade Trained’ Regular and Gurkha personnel who were serving at units indicated.
Comment: In providing the above information, the Minister noted that ‘structures of formations’ are subject to change as part of ‘Army 2020 (Refine)’. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
27 Aug 18. Women: Service in Ground Close Combat Roles. The MoD noted (27 Aug 18) that up to 20 women have reportedly begun preparation for ground close combat roles in the Royal Marines. In 2016 the decision was made to open ground close combat roles in the RN, RM and Army to women, with all roles expected to be open to women by the end of 2018.
Comment: A Parliamentary Answer earlier (14 Mar 18) noted that the Army opened the Royal Armoured Corps to women from November 2016 and the Royal Air Force Regiment since September 2017. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
13 Aug 18. Cyber Security Skills: Training Agreement. The MoD provided details (13 Aug 18) of an agreement with TechVets, a not-for-profit organisation which specialises in helping Service leavers to get jobs in the cyber security and technology sectors. Working alongside the MoD’s Career Transition Partnership, TechVets aims to increase the numbers of ‘cyber veterans’. Despite having particular ‘transferable’ skills, only 4% of veterans work in technology and cyber security.
Comment: Reporting in July 2018, the Joint Committee on the National Security Strategy was concerned by an apparent lack of Government urgency in addressing the cyber security skills gap in relation to the Critical National Infrastructure. It was noted that a standalone skills strategy, promised by Government in November 2016, will not be published until December 2018. ‘Cyber Security Skills and the UK’s Critical National Infrastructure’ was published as HL 172/HC 706 on 19 Jul 18. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
15 Aug 18. Malawi: Poaching. The MoD confirmed (15 Aug 18) that, after a successful pilot operation, the Nkhotakota and Majete Wildlife Reserves are both being managed by African Parks in partnership with Malawi’s Department of National Parks and Wildlife. UK troops are currently helping to train African Parks’ rangers with the long-term aim of ensuring that rangers are better skilled and able to respond appropriately to the threat of poaching.
Comment: The training outlined above forms part of a three-year plan, agreed by the MoD and the Department for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs, to support and fund a series of military-led counter-poaching activities. The FCO has also committed a further £1m in aid support to improve the lives of people living next to the wildlife reserves. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/30, 03 Sep 18)
29 Aug 18. Questions Surround UK F-35 Month-Long Flying Break. The British defence ministry says there is no danger to the UK’s plan to achieve initial operating capability (IOC) from land bases with the Lockheed Martin F-35, even though none of the UK-based aircraft has flown for more than a month. F-35 sorties finally took place on Aug. 29, 34 days after the last training sortie was performed on July 26. This does not include the arrival of the second batch of five aircraft which crossed the Atlantic from Beaufort, South Carolina, on Aug. 3. So far, the vast majority of the flights have been performed by the first batch of four aircraft which arrived on June 6, although these have been limited in number. An Aerospace DAILY analysis of the flights using social media reports suggests that the UK-based fleet had flown just 21 or 22 flights up to July 26. The discrepancy comes from whether two or three aircraft flew on July 3. Some nine sorties were flown in support of air show display flyovers marking the centenary of the Royal Air Force over London as well as at the Royal International Air Tattoo at RAF Fairford and the Farnborough International Airshow. Many of the training flights have been local in nature, flying practice diversions to other airfields as well as performing the first vertical landings. So far, there has been no night flying performed or aerial refueling practiced. The UK defense ministry insists the break in flying is a result of extensive maintenance checks and personnel on leave. But when the first batch of aircraft arrived in June, crews said they were expecting an intensive flying regime to achieve (IOC). (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Aviation Week)
28 Aug 18. UK Aerospace Threatened Even as Aircraft Deliveries Set Record. While the global aerospace industry remains well on track for another record year of aircraft production, a no-deal Brexit next March would create inevitable disruption, UK aerospace trade organization ADS Group cautioned. This year’s commercial aircraft deliveries reached 809 at the end of July, exceeding last year’s total by 37, according to data collected by ADS. Figures cover reported deliveries of commercial aircraft by Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier. July proved a record month, as the OEMs delivered nine more aircraft than the 107 they shipped during the same period in 2017. The industry’s order book backlog remained above 14,000 aircraft for the eighth month in a row. The 116 Airbus, Boeing, and Bombardier aircraft delivered in July are worth up to £2bn ($2.58bn) to the UK’s aerospace industry.
“Aerospace manufacturers in the UK and around the world are continuing to boost production and the latest delivery figures show we can be confident of another new record in 2018,” said ADS chief executive Paul Everitt. But, he warned, the UK’s greatest risk to its ability to compete in international markets resides in “the threat posed by the country leaving the European Union with no deal.”
The UK government last week published its first set of technical notices explaining how British businesses and citizens should prepare for a possible no-deal Brexit next March. The first 25 or so notices did not include aviation, but they covered areas like trade, state aid, and customs. The papers help provide more clarity over the consequences of leaving the EU with no deal, “but demonstrate once again that it would be the worst possible outcome,” Everitt said. “Leaving without a deal would create substantial burdens on business, which would be forced to bear the costs of adapting to and overcoming the inevitable disruption.”
He called on negotiators to “act quickly to reach an agreement that protects jobs and prosperity in the UK and Europe.” (Source: News Now/AIN News)
27 Aug 18. In its bid to counter Russia, US Air Force to spend $40m on Romanian air base. The U.S. Air Force has plans in motion to spend almost $40m on new construction and base improvements at Romania’s 71st Air Base in Campia Turzii to make it more hospitable for visiting U.S. combat squadrons. The service will be able to launch a greater number of jets, repair more of them poor weather conditions, and have the ability to safely store additional fuel and weapons as a result of the improvements — all things that are critical as the U.S. and Romanian air forces train together on base, but even more important in a potential future war where the U.S. Air Force deploys to Romania to launch sorties and help protect one of its NATO allies. In short, it amounts to improved readiness, said Gen. Tod Wolters, commander of U.S. Air Forces Europe.
“We want to make sure that our soldiers, sailors, airmen and Marines are in a position to where they can be quicker and faster and sharper and stronger than their predecessors,” he told Defense News in a July interview.
The Defense Department doesn’t maintain a permanent base at Campia Turzii, but in recent years, the Air Force has temporarily stationed F-15 and A-10 aircraft at the location to increase training and cooperation with the Romanians. Most recently, 12 F-15C/D Eagles and almost 300 airmen from the 131st Expeditionary Fighter Squadron were based there this summer. The $40m construction bill includes items from fiscal years 2015 to 2019 and would be paid with Defense Department funds specially designated to deter Russian aggression, formerly known as the European Reassurance Initiative and now called the European Deterrence Initiative. During a July visit to the 71st Air Base, Defense News toured many of the sites of ongoing construction around the base. Here’s what is being built and why it matters: More hangar space for planes, better runways and additional parking space
Almost $25m of that $40m sum will be spent on infrastructure to directly enable mission planning and flight operations, according to a USAFE PowerPoint presentation on construction projects that was obtained by Defense News. The Air Force has already spent $5m to repaint, repair and reseal one runway, as well as $950,000 on a new hangar that could be used to house drones like the MQ-9 Reaper. But even bigger changes are on the way. One section of Campia Turzii currently housing a number of aircraft shelters and a maintenance apron will be massively expanded by the end of the summer of 2019, with the addition of a hangar capable of fitting an F-15 or A-10, and an extended aircraft ramp that can will enable 12 F-15s to be parked outside. Nearby those facilities, the service plans to build a new squadron operation facility for $3.4m with briefing rooms and offices for medical and life-support personnel.
“On any airfield, concrete helps you in every way possible,” said Maj. Cosmin Tanase, the Romanian military’s chief of the coordination support office at the 71st Air Base. The office leads planning and cooperation with the U.S. military.
“You can rearrange your stuff, have more aircraft coming, make sure the movement on the aircraft is safer,” Tanase added.
The service is planning to have two other projects wrapped up by the end of the summer of 2019. First, it will invest $2.1m to upgrade a trim pad to meet NATO requirements. The Air Force straps down aircraft to a trim pad to keep them safely in place during maintenance processes like engine checks, and the improvements sought by the service include new aircraft anchors, blast deflectors and concrete repair. The service also plans to spend $900,000 to build a cargo ramp that will be able to accommodate at least one C-5 or two C-17s on base.
More storage for fuel and munitions
The Air Force is spending $9.3m to increase its capacity to store fuel and weapons on base, starting with a $2.9m investment in FY19 that will the allow the service to stockpile 400,000 liters of fuel and create parking for fuel trucks. Currently, when the U.S. Air Force deploys to the 71st Air Base, it stores its fuel in flexible bladders that look like giant water beds. But those bladders are more likely than metal containers to become damaged, and they had to be replaced in May after being chewed by rats, Tanase said. The service also intends to increase its fuel-storage capability by building facilities that would hold 1m gallons of fuel at NATO standards as well as creating a pipeline that extends to the railhead. It requested $3.4m for the project in FY19; the service was unable to start construction in the spring of 2018 as originally projected. Boosting the amount of storage for munitions is also a priority. The service is set to begin construction on two munitions igloos, as well as creating a road that will link the new facilities to the main thoroughfare on base, according to budget documents. That project, expected to cost $3m, is set to be finished as early as summer 2019.
The U.S. Air Force has already spent $900,000 to construct a paved perimeter road that allows for better access to the flight line and reduces the debris associated with gravel roads. That improvement not only aids in U.S. flight operations when it is deployed to Campia Turzii, but was also a welcome development for the Romanian Air Force, which, on occasion, would have to drive vehicles on the taxiways because other roadways were in poor condition, Tanase said.
“That was a safety issue that was solved by having that road,” he said.
The Air Force is set to start on two new upgrades this year. It will spend $2.1m to install new lighting on the airfield and repair existing lights. It also plans to start building augmented electrical infrastructure, which will give a boost in power generation to support future projects, USAFE documents state. (Source: Defense News)
27 Aug 18. UK to start work on satellite system to rival EU’s Galileo – Sunday Telegraph. Britain is to start work on its own satellite navigation system to rival the European Union’s Galileo project because the UK’s access to sensitive security information could be restricted after Brexit, the Sunday Telegraph reported. Galileo, a €10bn (£8.97bn) satellite programme being developed by the EU as a rival to the U.S. Global Positioning System, has emerged as a flashpoint between Britain and the EU, which is already beginning to treat Britain as an outsider. Chancellor Philip Hammond has approved £100m to explore a post-Brexit satellite system and an official announcement will be made this week, the Sunday Telegraph reported. A spokeswoman for Britain’s Department for Business, Energy and Industrial Strategy declined to comment. The European Commission has started to exclude Britain and its companies from sensitive future work on Galileo ahead of the country’s exit from the EU in seven months time. Galileo was commissioned in 2003 and is due for completion by 2020. One expert has predicted that it could cost Britain about £3bn to build a rival system. The EU has said Britain will be able to continue to use Galileo’s open signal, but that Britain’s military could be denied access to the encrypted version when the satellite becomes operational. Britain has said it plans to press ahead with the development of its own satellite navigation system if the EU continues to insist that it will be barred from the secure elements of the project and will demand a repayment of up to £1bn for the work it has carried out on the project. (Source: Reuters)
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