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07 Sep 18. France to spend 3.6bn euros to renew military satellites – defence minister. France will invest 3.6bn euros (£3.2bn) to renew and upgrade its military satellites to shield its network from potential spying by rivals, its defence minister said on Sunday. “We will install surveillance cameras on our satellites so we will know who is approaching us,” Defence Minister Florence Parly said on French TV station CNews. French last year detected attempts by Russia to intercept transmissions from a military satellite used by the armies of France and Italy for secure communications, Parly said on Friday. The French investment plan comes weeks after U.S. President Donald Trump announced a plan to create a “Space Force”, a new branch of the U.S. military by 2020. Parly also said the French government was evaluating the construction of one or two aircraft carriers to replace its existing one. (Source: Reuters)
03 Sep 18. Iraq and Syria: OP SHADER. On 1 Aug 18 Tornados attacked a terrorist truck in Northern Iraq and on 17 Aug 18 Tornados demolished a building occupied by Daesh in Northern Iraq and killed a terrorist on foot. A terrorist-held building in Syria was struck by a Reaper on 23 Aug 18. The RAF continues to fly armed reconnaissance patrols over Syria and Iraq on a daily basis. (MoD 3 Sep 18.)
Comment: During a Security Council briefing on 6 Sep 18, the UK Permanent Representative to the United Nations said “we are seriously concerned by the potential for further illegal use of chemical weapons in any Syrian regime offensive in Idlib” and joined other countries in “urging Russia to use its influence to ensure that chemical weapons are not used against civilians in Syria”. As at March 2018 an Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) fact-finding mission confirmed that there have been 13 cases of likely chemical weapons use in Syria since the mission was established in 2014. In addition, there have been at least 390 allegations of chemical weapons use. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/31, 10 Sep 18)
04 Sep 18. Afghanistan: Additional Support to NATO Mission. The MoD announced (4 Sep 18) that 100 members of 1st Bn The Welsh Guards have arrived in Afghanistan. The soldiers travelled with the Defence Secretary who was on a three-day visit to the country. The 100 Guardsmen are the first group of the additional 440 troops which the Prime Minister committed to Afghanistan at the NATO Summit on 11 Jul 18. (See also DNA Issue 18/26 of 16 Jul 18.)
Comment: The increase in troop numbers will make the UK the third largest contributor to Afghanistan with some 1,100 personnel. The additional troops bolster the UK’s existing contribution to the UK-led Kabul Security Force. The troops will also continue to mentor the Afghan National Defence and Security Forces, who are responsible for security in the capital. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/31, 10 Sep 18)
05 Sep 18. Nerve Agent: Salisbury and Amesbury Incidents. The Prime Minister informed the House of Commons (5 Sep 18) that the Crown Prosecution Service had enough evidence to bring charges against two Russian nationals for “the conspiracy to murder” Sergei and Julia Skripal, with the nerve agent Novichok on 4 Mar 18, along with the attempted murder of a British Policeman. The Prime Minister also confirmed that the same Russians are also the prime suspects in the poisoning of two British citizens with the Novichok nerve agent, in Amesbury on 30 Jun 18, which resulted in the death of one of the individuals. “There is no other line of inquiry beyond this.” The Russian nationals have been identified as having travelled to the UK under the alias names of Alexander Petrov and Ruslan Boshirov. The UK Government has concluded that the named Russians are from the Russian military intelligence service, also known as the GRU. During a meeting of the UN Security Council (6 Sep 18), Russia rebuffed the nerve agent poisoning charges and accused the UK of trying to sow “anti-Russian hysteria”. Statements of support for the UK position were given by a number of Council members, including France and the US.
Comment: After a follow-up visit to the UK on 13 Aug 18, the OPCW confirmed (4 Sep 18) the UK’s assessment that the Novichok agent had been used in the Amesbury poisoning incident in March 2018. A Joint Statement was issued (6 Sep 18) by Canada, France, Germany, the UK and the US on the Salisbury attack, expressing “full confidence” in the British assessment that the suspects were GRU officers. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/31, 10 Sep 18)
20 Aug 18 HMS ARGYLL: Middle East Deployment. The RN reported (20 Aug 18) that HMS ARGYLL joined coalition forces in the Middle East in early August 2018 as part of efforts to maintain security in the region. The Type 23 frigate will be working with the Combined Maritime Forces until late September, supporting Combined Task Force 152 (CTF152) and Combined Task Force 150 (CTF150). The ship is armed with the new Sea Ceptor missile system and has a ship’s company of 225, including a contingent of Royal Marines.
Comment: The RN reported (10 Aug 18) that following a three-month tenure in command of CTF150, the RN handed over to the Royal Saudi Navy during a ceremony in Bahrain. It is the first time that a Gulf navy has led the Task Force and the Royal Saudi Navy will assume command for four months. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/31, 10 Sep 18)
05 Sep 18. Laser Directed Energy Weapons (DEW): Research. The Defence Procurement Minister provided an update (5 Sep 18) on UK research into the potential uses of DEW. The Minister said that the MoD is making “a significant investment” into the development of DEW, including the Dragonfire technology demonstrator. A Novel Weapons team has been established to address key enablers such as logistics, doctrine and interoperability. The team is also focused on understanding safety, legal and ethical aspects of deploying DEW.
Comment: In January 2017, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (DSTL) awarded a £30m contract to the Dragonfire consortium to demonstrate the potential of Laser DEW. The consortium, led by MBDA, includes Arke, BAE Systems, GKN, Leonardo, Marshall Land Systems and QinetiQ. The Dragonfire demonstrator is being tested during 2018 and will culminate in a major demonstration in 2019. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/31, 10 Sep 18)
04 Sep 18. Army: Re-basing from Germany. A Ministerial reply (4 Sep 18) indicated that the re-basing of the Army from Germany to the UK is “on schedule”. The MoD continues to work closely with other Departments to ensure schooling, medical and welfare provision is available for Service personnel and their families as they return to the UK.
Comment: An earlier (16 Jul l18) Parliamentary Answer indicated that there will be approximately 140 UK Defence personnel based at NATO Headquarters and installations in Germany after 2019. The number is subject to change “as part of the ongoing NATO adaptation programme”. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/31, 10 Sep 18)
31 Jul 18. UK Defence Exports: 2017 Statistics. The UK Defence & Security Organisation, part of the Department for International Trade, released (31 Jul 18) statistics covering Defence and Security sales for 2017. During 2017 the UK won Defence orders worth £9,000m, compared with £5,900m in 2016. The UK share of the global Defence market was estimated at 12% with the Middle East, North America and Europe being the largest markets.
Comment: A copy of ‘UK Defence & Security Export Statistics for 2017’ slides and tables can be accessed via the Government web portal (www.gov.uk). (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/31, 10 Sep 18)
07 Aug 18. HMS PROTECTOR: Diego Garcia Survey. The RN reported (7 Aug 18) that the Antarctic patrol ship HMS PROTECTOR was dispatched to the Indian Ocean during the Summer to survey the island of Diego Garcia. This is the first time that the island has been surveyed since 1837.
Comment: HMS PROTECTOR usually spends the austral winter undergoing maintenance work and training, typically off the coast of West Africa. The ship is due to return to the UK in 2020. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/31, 10 Sep 18)
07 Sep 18. France, UK strengthen military relations — but future fighter jet cooperation ‘not yet there.’ British and French defense ministers will meet twice a year rather than just once, reflecting a deepening of bilateral relations despite Britain’s impending exit from the European Union, said French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly.
“We have with the United Kingdom very close and deep relations in defense,” she told Defense News at a Sept. 6 event with AJPAE, an aeronautics and space journalists association. “That was formalized with the Lancaster House Treaty and will not be be called into question by the decision that the United Kingdom has taken to leave the European Union.
“In defense, there is a shared determination to pursue and deepen this relationship.”
The more frequent ministerial meetings reflected that intent. “This cooperation is precious and necessary for the security of the European continent,” she added.
Britain has put at French disposal the much-needed Chinook heavy transport helicopter in the Sahel theater, reflecting a close operational cooperation and shared experience in overseas deployment, she noted. Britain has asked for what started as a technology demonstrator for a combat UAV to refocus toward a study of “technology areas,” she said. That left the door open for the technology to be applied for large programs, such as the Franco-German Future Combat Air System, she added.
“The story is not yet written,” she said. “Perhaps in the next few years the British could be by our side on the FCAS project. But maybe I am just dreaming. We’re not there yet.”
The January meeting between French President Emmanuel Macron and British Prime Minister Theresa May, and their governments, also reflected close ties, particularly for the defense ministries, she said. That cross-channel summit closed without a pledge to build the demonstrator for a combat drone, disappointing French industry. France is the lead nation on the FCAS project, which aims to field a future fighter jet flying in a system of systems, linking up drones, tankers, future cruise missiles and swarms of drones. The departure of Britain from the EU, known as Brexit, is due to take place in March. (Source: Defense News)
07 Sep 18. U.S. military to send 1,500 more soldiers to Germany by late 2020. The U.S. military will station about 1,500 additional soldiers in Germany by September 2020, adding to more than 33,000 American troops already in the country in a move that could trigger fresh tensions with Russia. Russian President Vladimir Putin suggested last month that NATO forces in eastern Europe posed a threat to Russia, a charge firmly rejected by NATO officials. The U.S. Army’s European headquarters in Wiesbaden, Germany, said the new forces would be permanently stationed in Germany as “a display of our continued commitment to NATO and our collective resolve to support European security.”
Sharp criticism of the NATO alliance by U.S. President Donald Trump had triggered fears that Washington could reduce defence spending in Europe and reduce its presence.
“The addition of these forces increases U.S Army readiness in Europe and ensures we are better able to respond to any crisis,” it said. The increased troop levels will still be far below those seen during the Cold War.
The troop increase was mandated by 2017 U.S. legislation that called for an increase in U.S. Army troop levels, with a significant portion of the increase to come in Europe. The U.S. Army said it would begin activating new units at several bases in Germany this year, including a field artillery brigade headquarters, two multiple launch rocket system battalions, and a short-range air defence battalion.
Richard Grenell, the U.S. ambassador in Germany, said the decision underscored Washington’s commitment to strengthening he transatlantic alliance, while planned military spending increases had improved security.
German Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen, a conservative who is battling the Social Democrat coalition partners to back a boost in German military spending, welcomed the decision.
“The U.S. decision to increase the military presence here in Germany is a welcome sign of the vitality of transatlantic relationship and a commitment to our joint security,” she said. (Source: Reuters)
07 Sep 18. Spanish government under pressure over Saudi defense deals. Shipbuilders are blocking roads in southern Spain amid fears that Saudi Arabia could scrap a $2.1bn-purchase of warships in retaliation to a move by Madrid to halt a shipment of bombs to Riyadh. The new center-left Spanish government said earlier this week that it was not planning to deliver the 400 laser-guided precision bombs over worries they may be used to target civilians in Yemen. Formal cancellation of the order, which dates back to 2015, is expected at a ministers meeting this month. Saudi diplomats in Madrid declined to comment on whether that could lead to Riyadh canceling a July deal to buy five navy corvettes from Spanish company Navantia. Jesus Peralta, a Navantia workers union leader, says 6,000 direct jobs over 4-1/2 years could be at stake. (Source: Defense News)
06 Sep 18. France says it must use fewer U.S. parts in its weapons systems. France must cut its dependence on U.S. components in its weapons systems to minimise Washington’s ability to block its arms exports, its defence minister said on Thursday. U.S. export control laws can be used to limit European weapons sales if even small components come from U.S. suppliers. That legislation was in place prior to Donald Trump’s presidency, but the industry has grown increasingly worried that his administration is acting to halt exports that might have been permitted in the past. Washington has this year blocked the sale to Egypt of French-made SCALP cruise missiles, which contain a U.S. part. Without giving specific examples, Defence Minister Florence Parly said France needed to “gradually wean ourselves off our reliance on a certain number of American parts.”
“We have had trade difficulties linked to the prospects for exports. And we know that these difficulties are linked to strategic questions and often to problems of commercial rivalry,” she told a small group of journalists.
She was quizzed on the subject in July by parliament’s defence committee.
Asked at that time by one lawmaker about the blocked SCALP sale, Parly said: “We are at the mercy of the Americans.”
Parly said Washington’s actions underlined the need to minimise dependence on U.S. parts in the Future Combat Air System (SCAF) project – Europe’s next-generation combat jet which France and Germany are taking the lead in developing.
France’s Dassault Aviation and European planemaker Airbus have signed a deal to work together on the jet, which is expected to be at the centre of a broader weapons system capable of commanding a squadron of drones.
France’s air force uses Reaper drones, built by U.S. firm General Atomics, in its counter-terrorism operations against Islamist militants. Parly said France had needed U.S. congressional approval to arm the drones. “Is that satisfactory? No. But we don’t have any choice,” she said. (Source: Reuters)
04 Sep 18. Dunford Gets Greek View of Regional Challenges. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said he very much welcomed seeing the Eastern Mediterranean region “through a Greek lens” as he finished consultations with his counterpart, Greek navy Adm. Evangelos Apostolakis, the chief of the Hellenic National Defense General Staff. Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford told reporters traveling with him that the bilateral relationship between the two NATO allies “is probably as good as it has been in many, many years.” Dunford and Apostolakis discussed the situation in the region. Greece looks north into the Balkans, east to the Middle East and south into Libya and the rest of North Africa. “[He] shared some thoughts about the region, and I greatly benefited from the perspective of the Greeks, who have a regional view,” the chairman said.
The Greeks are open to increasing military cooperation with the United States, he said. “[They] made a general overture saying they would be willing to consider that, and I certainly was enthusiastic about the possibility,” Dunford said.
U.S. European Command and the State Department will work with Greek ministries to continue these conversations, he said.
“If you look at geography and you look at current operations in Libya and current operations in Syria, [and] you look at potential operations in the Eastern Mediterranean, the opportunities here are pretty significant,” the chairman said.
Dunford said hearing directly from the Greek military about their experiences with the refugee crisis gave him a better appreciation of the scope of the problem and the capabilities they brought to bear on it. “They also have some interesting perspectives on the Russian naval presence in the eastern Mediterranean, as well,” he said. “I think we both agreed that we are seeing something we haven’t seen since the 1980s in terms of the operational patterns of the Russians in the area.”
The two leaders talked about the importance of sharing information and intelligence particularly in the area of counterterrorism, the chairman said.
Expanded Base Access
Dunford said the Greek defense chief “expressed interest in expanding our access to their bases.” This access can be used to move personnel and equipment in and out of theater.
“We … have taken advantage of Souda Bay — it’s a critical piece of infrastructure here in the region, and Greece has also been open to expanding training opportunities for our forces that are stationed in Europe, in particular for U.S. Army units to do training with helicopters,” he said.
The two men talked about deepening relationships through the International Military and Training program. This program increases military-to-military engagement through service member exchanges. Young Greek service members attend U.S. professional military education schools and young Americans attend Greek schools. He noted that Apostolakis attended the Marine Corps’ Expeditionary Warfare School — then the Amphibious Warfare School — earlier in his career and the Greek army chief of staff attended a school in Fort Knox, Kentucky. Finally, Greece also plays a unique role in the region in terms of bringing together multinational exercises. The United States is certainly amenable to participating in those exercises, Dunford said.
The U.S.-Greek relationship is in “a very positive place” today, a senior government official said here on background today, and the foundation to this turn of events has been the defense relationship between the two nations.
Greece has suffered through an economic crisis from which the country is still recovering. Yet the nation continued to spend 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense — a benchmark for NATO members.
“The Greeks live in this neighborhood and they have been looking around and seeing the same instability that we have,” the official said.
Greece is nervous about NATO ally Turkey and want that country to remain firmly rooted in the West, the official added. They also confronted the refugee crisis with limited resources, but see the possibility of it continuing.
“They are deeply concerned with what is happening in Libya and Africa, because even if Syria stabilizes, you’ve got Africa that is right on their doorstep,” the official said.
The Greeks, too, are worried about what the Russians are up to in the Black Sea and the Eastern Mediterranean, the official said. “They are looking around, and the U.S. is still the best partner available to them.”
On the security front, more is happening. In addition to NATO forces, U.S. European Command, U.S. Transportation Command, U.S. Africa Command and U.S. Special Operations Command use the facilities at the Naval Support Activity in Souda Bay.
The U.S. Air Force is now operating MQ-9 Reaper unmanned aerial vehicles at Greece’s Larissa Air Force Base. The unarmed UAVs will focus on information-gathering, surveillance and reconnaissance in the region. Both Dunford and the official said the United States is not looking for large bases in Greece. The U.S. footprint in the country will remain light. But there will probably be more American service members rotating in and out of the country for training, education and exercises. (Source: (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Department of Defense)
04 Sep 18. US, Greece look at increasing military presence amid tension with Turkey. The U.S. is looking at further expanding its military presence in Greece, including increasing access for U.S. aircraft and ships, and increasing joint exercises there, Chairman of the Joint Chiefs Gen. Joseph Dunford said Tuesday.
“If you look at geography, and you look at current operations in Libya, and you look at current operations in Syria, you look at potential other operations in the eastern Mediterranean, the geography of Greece and the opportunities here are pretty significant,” Dunford said.
U.S. officials who briefed reporters traveling with Dunford said no specific bases have been identified, but that Supreme Allied Commander Europe Army Gen. Curtis Scaparrotti is evaluating several options for increased U.S. flight training, port calls to do forward-based ship repairs and additional multilateral exercises. “Those are discussions that Gen. Scap and others are having right now, as they look around the region in terms of where they want to put forces” within the next five to 10 years, one official said.
The welcome mat for an expanded U.S. presence comes as Greece faces increasing uncertainty over its relationships with Russia and Turkey, the official said.
Greece has “been looking around this neighborhood and recognizing the same instability … that we have” the official said. “They’ve always had a nervousness about their NATO ally Turkey.”
Dunford said an increased use of Greek bases was not tied to U.S. relations with Turkey, and that the U.S. expects that its use of Incirlik Air Base will continue. However, U.S.-Turkey relations have deteriorated significantly over the last several years over disagreements about U.S. policy in Syria, the 2016 failed coup in Turkey and Turkey’s pursuit of Russia’s S-400 missile defense system. This month lawyers for the Turkish government have sought to halt U.S. flights departing Incirlik, as they pursue U.S. Air Force officers they allege were connected to the 2016 coup attempt. Discussions of an expansion come amid a surge in U.S. use of Greek ports and military bases. This spring the U.S. began operating unarmed MQ-9 Reaper drones out of Greece’s Larisa Air Force Base. The transport dock ship New York has made two recent port calls, and the aircraft carrier Truman made a port call in May. The officials said U.S. naval and air presence at Souda Bay “in some respects is at capacity now, in terms of its support for EUCOM, for AFRICOM, for TRANSCOM, even SOCOM now” in part due to increased traffic in support of operations in Syria.
“We have taken advantage of Souda Bay,” Dunford said. “It’s a critical piece of infrastructure here, in the region.”
Dunford said the U.S. is not looking for a new, permanent base, but has discussed additional options for transiting military or additional multilateral exercises.
Despite its own economic crisis, Greece has also continued to spend 2 percent of its GDP on defense, including signing a $1.5bn contract with the U.S. to upgrade the avionics in 85 of its 129 F-16 fighter jets, the officials said. The agreement was signed in the spring, with the final details expected to be completed this fall. Greece is also set to receive 70 OH-58 U.S. Army Kiowa helicopters through the U.S. excess defense articles program and has contracted to upgrade four of its P-3 Orion reconnaissance aircraft, the officials said. (Source: Defense News)
03 Sep 18. Swiss set to ease arms export rules despite Syria grenades report. Switzerland looks set to loosen arms export rules to allow sales to countries embroiled in civil wars despite a newspaper report that Swiss-made hand grenades probably made their way into the hands of militants in Syria. State arms maker RUAG Holding acknowledged that grenades it sold to the United Arab Emirates 15 years ago likely found their way to the militants after the report by SonntagsBlick. Even so, members of the Swiss People’s Party (SVP), the country’s largest, said on Monday they doubted this would dissuade the government from easing rules on arms exports, a move proposed in June after the nation’s weapons industry asked for the changes. Two key parliamentary committees have signed off on the new policy, which the government can implement via regulation. Under the new rules, countries locked in civil wars could buy Swiss arms so long as there was no reason to believe the weapons would be used in the internal conflict. Proponents of the relaxed rules, including in the SVP, say they are necessary to help protect jobs in Switzerland’s independent arms industry seen by some as crucial to Switzerland’s ability to protect itself in a crisis. In 2017, Swiss companies won government permission to export 446.8m Swiss francs (£358m) in weaponry to 64 countries, up 8 percent. Nearly 50 percent went to Europe, but its share slipped from about 52 percent in 2016. Meanwhile Swiss arms exports to the Americas and Asia rose.
“The matter (of the grenades) is purely emotional and has nothing to do with the easing of Swiss rules governing weapons exports,” Werner Salzmann, president of the lower house of parliament’s security committee, told Reuters.
The new rules, he added, could allow countries in armed conflicts get access to Swiss-made missile defence systems to protect their citizens.
SonntagsBlick reported on Sunday that Islamic State militants were hoarding RUAG-made hand grenades in Syria, based on photographs of weapons seized from fighters. In a statement, RUAG said the hand grenades may have been among 250,000 it delivered 15 years ago to the United Arab Emirates, before they were transferred to Syria.
“There was indeed a case in 2003/2004 of a RUAG customer having made false end-user declarations and having failed to comply with the requirements it had accepted,” RUAG said.
This is not first time the RUAG grenades delivered to the UAE turned up in Syria: In 2012, they were discovered in the possession of the Free Syrian Army, which is fighting the government of Bashar al-Assad. Opponents of the proposals said the report underscored problems with tracking weapons once they leave Switzerland.
“This is a prime example of how difficult it is to control arms deliveries,” Martin Landolt, president of the Conservative Democratic Party, told the newspaper.
RUAG said it had not delivered grenades to Arab countries since 2003/2004. A Swiss government spokesman could not be reached for comment on Monday. RUAG is the main Swiss arms exporter. The Swiss arm of Germany’s Rheinmetall also makes weapons. (Source: Reuters)
03 Sep 18. Is the UK’s proposed new fighter jet a pipe dream? Britain’s plan for Tempest raises questions about money and international partners. Britain’s military chiefs are spending much of their time grappling with a £20bn shortfall in the UK’s defence equipment budget. So when defence secretary Gavin Williamson revealed plans in July for the UK to develop a multi billion pound next generation fighter jet, some dismissed his proposals as a pipe dream. However, almost two months on from the unveiling of the jet dubbed the Tempest, Ministry of Defence officials and executives from the four companies backing the project — BAE Systems, Leonardo, MBDA and Rolls-Royce — are busy developing a business case to underpin Mr Williamson’s ambitious vision. “We are at the beginning of what’s going to be quite a long journey,” said Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, the UK aerospace and defence trade body. The business case for Tempest is meant to be completed by the end of the year, but the government is not due to make a final investment decision on the project until 2025, with the aim of delivering the first jet by 2035. While the government, industry executives and analysts insist Tempest is essential to sustaining the UK’s combat aerospace sector, which has an annual turnover of more than £6bn and supports 18,000 highly skilled jobs, critics complain about inadequate information and predict the project will not happen. “Tempest has opened up more questions than the government has so far answered,” said the Labour MP Ruth Smeeth, a member of the Commons defence select committee. “None of it is real. It’s wishful thinking.” The defence ministry has said £2bn of funding for Tempest has already been set aside as part of the government’s 2015 strategic defence review. Some of the money for the life sized model of the fighter jet displayed at the Farnborough air show in July also came from the four defence companies. Chief among the questions facing Tempest is how Britain can afford to pay for a new fighter jet when it cannot cover the costs of its existing defence equipment budget, which includes a commitment in principle to buy 138 F-35 stealth fighter jets from the US manufacturer Lockheed Martin. An initial batch of 48 F-35s that the UK has agreed to purchase will cost an estimated £9.1bn, and will form the strike force for Britain’s two new aircraft carriers, but the fate of the remaining 90 is uncertain because the government has not signed a contract. If the project advances Tempest could replace the Royal Air Force’s Eurofighter Typhoon jets by the 2040s. It should be far larger than the F-35, and therefore able to carry more weapons over longer distances, thereby giving the RAF better air defence and air to air combat capabilities compared with Lockheed’s stealth aircraft which is predominantly for strike and intelligence missions. “The F-35 might be able to sneak around, but it cannot operate with impunity,” said one executive working on Tempest. Analysts said that paying for Tempest would inevitably lead to a reduction in the number of F-35s which the UK purchases — a move which could have implications for relations between Britain and the US. Justin Bronk, analyst with the Royal United Services Institute, a think-tank, said: “The UK could theoretically choose to fund both a new combat aircraft through team Tempest and a full 138 F-35 order but it would require a significant increase in the defence budget, or major capability cuts elsewhere.” Much will depend on the outcome of a long-running battle between Mr Williamson and the chancellor Philip Hammond over defence spending. Mr Williamson’s protracted review of the UK’s armed forces, which he hopes will secure additional funding from the Treasury, has yet to be completed. It is far from clear that Mr Hammond will release any additional money for defence in his next Budget, particularly given the government’s decision in June to provide a major cash injection for the National Health Service. Even if the Treasury does loosen the purse strings in the defence ministry’s favour, the UK is unlikely to be able to fully develop Tempest without the help of international partners. Britain has held initial talks with Sweden. But with Germany and France already committed to producing their own next generation fighter jet, collaboration between London, Paris and Berlin looks remote, prompting industry concerns over the sustainability of two competing European projects. Executives are keen to avoid a repeat of how Europe has developed three current generation fighter jets — Eurofighter, France’s Rafale, and Sweden’s Gripen. So one key issue is whether Tempest can ultimately combine with the latest Franco-German initiative. “The British-led and Franco-German efforts need to merge at some point but the question is on what terms and with what division of design responsibility and workshare,” said Mr Bronk. “That will be a very thorny discussion especially with France.” For all the questions over money and international partners, Tempest is being viewed by the defence industry and analysts as a serious proposition, central to Britain’s post Brexit role and ambition to remain a tier one military power. “What encourages me — what surprises me — is that the thought that has gone into this is massive,” said Francis Tusa of Defence Analysis, a consultancy. “Is Tempest achievable? Yes.” (Source: FT.com)
31 Aug 18. Turkey Can’t Accept US Impositions, Needs Both S-400 and F-35s, Erdoğan Says. Turkey’s foreign policy, as stated by officials in various platforms, is defined by multidimensional diplomacy, and so in supplying its defense needs, Turkey gets in touch with any partner it sees fit to carry out negotiations. While building such channels of dialogue, Turkey aims to maintain equally strong relations with other powers with which it develops military, economic and diplomatic ties. Thus, the country maintains a balance that helps it not be dependent on a single power. In this regard, President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said Friday that Turkey needs both Russian-made S-400 air defense systems and U.S.-made F-35 fighter jets, adding that it was not acceptable for the country to accept the U.S.’ impositions. In December, Turkey officially signed a $2.5bn agreement with Russia for the S-400s – Russia’s most advanced long-range anti-aircraft missile system. With the move, Turkey is set to become the first NATO member country to acquire the system. Turkey’s interest in the Russian systems started due to Washington’s indifferent attitude on technology transfer in the case of a possible purchase of the American-made Raytheon Patriot missiles. Turkish officials said in July that Ankara may consider buying Patriot missiles but it won’t consider them as an alternative to the Russian S-400 system. With the S-400s, Ankara aims to build Turkey’s first long-range air and anti-missile defense system to boost its defense capabilities amid threats from PKK and Daesh terrorists at home and conflicts across its borders in Syria and Iraq.
“Turkey needs S-400 missiles and the deal is done, we will procure them as soon as possible,” Erdoğan said at a graduation ceremony for non-commissioned officers in western Balıkesir province.
“Turkey, which is already a project partner, also needs F-35 fighter jets, its domestically-developed planes and planes developed with other countries. We have paid $900m so far [for F-35’s] and continue to pay as instalments come due,” Erdoğan added, but noted that the country would procure jets elsewhere if the U.S. halts the delivery of the F-35 fighter jets. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Daily Sabah; published Aug 31, 2018)
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