Sponsored by Lincad
01 Oct 18. Indonesia: Earthquake and Tsunami. Following a request from the Indonesian Government (1 Oct 18) the International Development Secretary announced that the UK was providing aid to the country following the 7.5 magnitude earthquake and tsunami which hit Sulawesi Island on 28 Sep 18. The MoD confirmed (3 Oct 18) that an RAF A400M Atlas aircraft, located in the Middle East, would assist with the transport of aid from the Department for International Development (DfID). The Atlas aircraft successfully delivered (5 Oct 18) 17.5 tonnes of aid supplies to the international relief centre at Balikpapan. A DfID aid flight had also departed from the UK for the region.
Comment: The UK aid package includes 1,280 shelter kits and 288 hygiene kits along with aircargo handling equipment, transport trucks and a lighting tower generator. A military team has also been deployed to the region to help facilitate the UK relief effort. It is believed that the earthquake and tsunami have left over 1,500 people dead, injured or missing. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/35, 08 Oct 18)
04 Oct 18. Russia: Cyber Attacks. In a joint statement by the Prime Minister and her Dutch counterpart (4 Oct 18) it was confirmed that the Russian military intelligence service (the GRU) has been involved in “unacceptable cyber activities”. A number of institutions have been targeted across the world, including the Organisation for the Prohibition of Chemical Weapons (OPCW) in The Hague. Separately, the Foreign Secretary detailed how the National Cyber Security Centre (NCSC) has identified that the GRU was also responsible for orchestrating cyber attacks against the World Anti-Doping Agency and the Ukrainian transport system.
Comment: The Dutch security services, supported by the UK, identified four GRU agents responsible for an attempted cyber attack against the OPCW in April 2018. The activity took place around the time that the OPCW was working independently to verify the UK’s analysis that a Novichok nerve agent was used to poison Sergei and Julia Skripal in Salisbury on 4 Mar 18. The GRU is also said to have attempted to compromise FCO and Defence Science and Technology Laboratory computer systems. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/35, 08 Oct 18)
05 Oct 18. Germany: Forward Basing. The MoD confirmed (30 Sep 18) that some 185 British Army personnel and 60 MoD civilians will remain in Germany once the withdrawal of Army units is complete. Personnel are to be retained at the Sennelager Training Area and adjacent Athlone Barracks as well as at the Ayrshire Barracks in Mönchengladbach where approximately 2,000 vehicles can be stored. The Army will also continue to support critical NATO infrastructure and assets, such as the combined river crossing capability in Minden where M3 vehicles are jointly operated by German and British troops.
Comment: The re-basing of the British Army from Germany to the UK is due to be completed in 2019. The UK and Germany are considering a bilateral upgrade of the M3 amphibious rig vehicles. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/35, 08 Oct 18)
05 Oct 18. Type 26 Frigates: Fourth Ship Named. The Defence Secretary announced (30 Sep 18) that the fourth of the UK’s eventual eight Type 26 global combat ships is to be named HMS BIRMINGHAM. The frigate will be the fourth RN ship to carry the name; the first having been launched in 1913 while the last was a Type 42 destroyer.
Comment: First of Class HMS GLASGOW is due to be accepted by Summer 2025 and is scheduled to enter service in 2027. HMS CARDIFF, HMS BELFAST, HMS BIRMINGHAM and the remaining four ships will follow. The Type 26 frigate has been selected to fulfil the Australian SEA 5000 programme requirement for nine Future Frigates, as part of a £20,000m contract announced in July 2018. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/35, 08 Oct 18)
30 Sep 18. Arctic: New Defence Strategy. The Defence Secretary announced (30 Sep 18) that, as part of a new Arctic Strategy, Royal Marines’ cold-weather training will become joint with Norway on a long-term basis “and integrated into Norway’s Defence Plan”. The RN also plans to mount regular under-ice submarine deployments in future. The strategy will complement increased UK commitments to the High North, including RAF Typhoon patrols over Iceland in 2019 and the deployment of P-8 Poseidon aircraft to the region during 2020.
Comment: According to the Defence Secretary “The new Defence Arctic Strategy will put the Arctic and the High North central to the security of the United Kingdom.”. As ice melts and new shipping routes emerge, the Strategy is a response to increased Russian submarine activity in the region. Russia is said to have ambitions to build over 100 facilities in the Arctic. In April 2018, the Trafalgar Class SSN HMS TRENCHANT broke through ice at the North Pole during Ice Exercise 18 (ICEX 18) with the US Navy. It was the first time in 10 years that an RN submarine has taken part in an ICEX with the US. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/35, 08 Oct 18)
05 Oct 18. Medical Services: International Exercise. Exercise Combined Joint Atlantic Serpent 2018 (EX CJAS 18) took place from 22 Sep to 5 Oct 18 at the Army Medical Services Training Centre in York. Medical teams that deploy on NATO and other coalition operations are typically multinational and EX CJAS 18 provided an opportunity for joint training with 400 medical personnel supporting a simulated field hospital environment.
Comment: UK and US medical personnel have been working together closely since 2014. For CJAS 18, the exercise was expanded to include personnel from Canada, Estonia, Germany and Norway. (Source: DNA DEFENCE NEWS ANALYSIS, Issue 18/35, 08 Oct 18)
05 Oct 18. Airlines agree to provide more aircraft in Germany – transport ministry. Airline executives have committed to providing more aircraft in Germany as part of a raft of measures to avoid backlogs and delays, a spokesman for Germany’s transport ministry said on Twitter on Friday. At a summit in Hamburg, the country’s Transport Minister Andreas Scheuer asked airline executives to commit to measures to make air travel more efficient in the wake of travel delays which emerged following the failure of Air Berlin last year. Lufthansa Chief Executive Carsten Spohr told a news conference the airline would put additional planes and crews on standby. He said Lufthansa has paid out a quarter of a billion euros in compensation due to delays. Among the two dozen measures agreed in a joint statement were proposals to improve staffing of air traffic control centres, speed up security screening at airports, and inform passengers of delays and cancellations ahead of time. Airlines will also try and speed up the turnaround times of delayed planes and improve flight plans, the document said. (Source: Reuters)
05 Oct 18. Germany, Britain sign defence cooperation agreement amid Brexit talks. Britain signed a military cooperation agreement with Germany on Friday, emphasising London’s commitment to helping shield Europe from future security threats at a time when negotiations over its exit from the EU are reaching a crunch.
One of the British government’s strongest cards in Brexit negotiations is the expectation that, as the EU country with the highest defence spending, it will continue to play a central role in European security after it leaves the bloc.
Britain’s military capabilities easily dwarf those of any other EU member state apart from France. It also has diplomatic and intelligence services that are among Europe’s best resourced and most capable.
“We will further strengthen the European pillar in NATO, contribute to European security and improve Europe’s resilience to security threats,” Britain and Germany said in a document which did not mention Brexit.
British Defence Minister Gavin Williamson and his German counterpart Ursula von der Leyen signed the agreement at a British army barracks in the western German town of Sennelager.
“We are determined to deepen and strengthen our relationship in order to achieve our common defence and security goals,” the agreement said. Naval, land and air forces would work closely together and there would be cooperation in defence procurement.
Prime Minister Theresa May has vowed to maintain Britain’s commitment to protecting Europe after Brexit. She has accused Russia of fomenting violence in eastern Ukraine, of repeatedly violating the national airspace of several European countries, and mounting a campaign of cyber attacks.
Russia is also blamed for hacking attacks in several European countries, including the Danish defence ministry and the German parliament. The European Union and Britain are trying to finalise a deal setting out their relationship after March 29, when Britain is expected to leave the bloc. Sources told Reuters that the EU’s Brexit negotiators told national diplomats in Brussels late on Thursday that a divorce deal with Britain was “very close”. (Source: Reuters)
04 Oct 18. Wedgetail is on the Radar, Defence Secretary Announces Ahead of NATO Conference. Speaking ahead of this week’s NATO conference, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has announced that the Ministry of Defence is in discussion with Boeing and the Royal Australian Air Force about the potential for the E-7 Wedgetail radar aircraft to replace the current Sentry fleet. The E-7 Wedgetail Airborne Early Warning and Control (AEW&C) System is able to fly for long periods of time and manage the battlespace from the sky, providing situational awareness and tracking multiple airborne and maritime targets at the same time. It then uses the information it gathers to direct other assets like fighter jets and warships. It has already been proven on operations in the battle against Daesh in Iraq and Syria. Further discussions are set to take place before any investment decision is made, as the MOD follows a stringent approvals process to ensure the aircraft meets the military requirement and represents value-for-money. If selected, UK industry could be involved significantly with the programme, from modification work to through life support. Speaking ahead of the meeting of Defence Ministers in NATO, Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said, “The Wedgetail is the stand-out performer in our pursuit of a new battlespace surveillance aircraft, and has already proved itself in Iraq and Syria. Running air operations from the sky, it could be an excellent asset for the RAF and give us a real edge in this increasingly complex world. Our future with Australia will already see us operate the same maritime patrol aircraft, world-class Type 26 warships and supersonic F-35 jets. Wedgetail may join that formidable armoury and help us work together to take on the global threats that we both face.”
Following market analysis and discussions with other potential providers, the MOD has concluded that the potential procurement of the E-7 represents the best value for money option for the UK against need, whilst representing a significant opportunity for increased defence cooperation and collaboration with our key ally Australia.
The MOD will work closely with Boeing to ensure Britain’s leading defence industry could also benefit from any deal. Named after Australia’s largest bird of prey, the wedge-tailed eagle, the high-performing aircraft has been proven on operations with the Royal Australian Air Force, having seen action against Daesh over Syria and Iraq and impressing US Forces in the ‘Red Flag’ series of large-scale exercises. The Wedgetail uses a standard Boeing 737 airliner modified to carry a sophisticated Northrop Grumman active electronically-scanned radar and can cover four million square kilometres over a single 10-hour period. If selected, it would replace the E-3D Sentry, which entered service in 1992.
It is a proven and reliable aircraft that has been in-Service with the Royal Australian Air Force for some time, with potential to considerably reduce the risk normally associated with acquiring a complex new platform of this nature. The aircraft is based on the Boeing 737 airliner family as is the P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft due to enter service in 2019.
The news represents a further development of the UK’s increasingly close military capability and industrial relationship with Australia, who recently selected the British Type 26 design for its future frigate. That decision confirmed the UK’s world-leading ship design capabilities, whilst strengthening collaboration in anti-submarine warfare and demonstrating the value of the global five-eyes partnership.
With its proven interoperability, the Wedgetail could also link up with the RAF’s latest arrival, the F-35 Lightning, providing pilots with the latest intelligence and situational awareness demonstrating how a modernised next generation Air Force can fight and win in an increasingly complex and dangerous environment, characterised by high speed and low observability. With Australia also a partner in the F-35 programme, the RAF and the Royal Australian Air Force will have further opportunities to work together across platforms and with other allies such as the United States to share and collect data and conduct joint training missions, all leading to faster, more effective and more integrated combat forces. (Source: ASD Network)
03 Oct 18. Stoltenberg Forecasts NATO Defense Minister Discussions. NATO defense ministers are meeting in Brussels to implement the decisions made by alliance heads of state in July and to discuss burden sharing, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said today. Defense Secretary James N. Mattis will join the other NATO allies in discussing the threats from Russia and the south, as well as changes to the alliance to deal with threats from the cyber world. Alliance members are making progress toward achieving the goal of nations spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense, a goal agreed upon at NATO’s 2014 summit in Wales. “Over the past two years, European allies and Canada have spent a cumulative $41bn more on defense, and I expect allies to make good on their commitments,” Stoltenberg said.
The defense ministers will also focus on alliance deterrence and defense. The ministerial conference will feature a meeting of the Nuclear Planning Group, and will address concerns about Russian violations of the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty signed in 1987.
The ministers will review changes to the alliance command structure, which will include the addition of more than 1,200 personnel. Two new commands – one hosted in Norfolk, Virginia, and the other in Germany – will improve the movement of troops across the Atlantic and within Europe.
Cyber Operations, Partnerships
“We are also setting up our new Cyber Operations Centre, which will help us strengthen our defenses against a real and present threat,” the secretary general said. “Our top military commanders will brief us on the progress made.”
Finally, the ministers will address work with partner countries. They will discuss efforts in and around the Black Sea and the aspiration of Georgia to join the alliance.
The ministers also will review the NATO training mission in Iraq. The effort will include more than 500 troops and will help the country preserve the gains made by the global coalition to defeat the Islamic State of Iraq and Syria, Stoltenberg said.
Also, the ministers will meet with European Union Vice President Federica Mogherini to discuss cooperation in areas such as military mobility and managing hybrid threats. “Done in the right way, these efforts can contribute to fairer burden sharing between Europe and North America,” he said. (Follow Jim Garamone on Twitter: @Garamone DoDNews)
03 Oct 18. Driving through 10 countries in 10 days is no mean feat, especially during this summer’s heatwave, so Briggs Defence was delighted to support Rally for Heroes and raise more than £140,000 for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity. The specialist division of engineering services, asset management and equipment supply company Briggs Equipment is committed to supporting the military community and was both a team and main event sponsor of the 2018 Rally. This year’s event generated £140,235, easily exceeding the fundraising target.
Gary Clements of Briggs Defence said: “Rally for Heroes really is an epic undertaking. Organising some 60 vehicles and more than a hundred people takes a lot of hard work and all the participants are volunteers who fund the trip themselves, so we’re delighted that this year’s event was another record-breaker.”
The teams set off from London’s Horse Guards Parade on August 2 and travelled 3,000 miles (5,000 km) through France, Switzerland, Italy, Venice, Slovenia, Croatia, Bosnia, Austria, Germany and Luxembourg before returning to the UK. Every five miles of the route is driven in memory of a serviceman or woman who has died in combat since the start of the Afghanistan conflict. This year the Rally included a special stop at the Los Rosales Center for children and young people with special needs in Mostar, Bosnia and Herzegovina, where each team handed over a shoebox filled with crayons, paper, colouring books and teddy bears.
Briggs Defence’s contract development manager Jamie Secker, who was the co-driver of his company’s team, said: “Rally for Heroes was the most amazing experience. We struggled at times in the intense heat, but the scenery was stunning and everywhere we went the locals were genuinely interested in us and supportive of what we were trying to achieve. The warm welcome we received at the orphanage in Sarajevo was a highlight of the trip.”
Rally for Heroes is a biennial event and has raised in excess of £525,000 for British military charities since 2010. SSAFA has been supporting serving Regulars and Reserves and veterans of the Royal Navy, British Army and Royal Air Force since 1885 and Rally for Heroes is its biggest single fundraising initiative.
03 Oct 18. Moody’s: ‘No-deal’ Brexit Poses Significant Near-Term Threat to European Aerospace and Defence Companies. A ‘no-deal’ Brexit would be credit negative for European aerospace and defence companies, in the short term with smallest companies most affected by the disruption, Moody’s Investors Service said in a report today. Moody’s central view is that the United Kingdom and the European Union will reach an agreement that preserves many of their current trading arrangements, minimizing the impact on European aerospace and defence companies. However, while Moody’s believes it is in the shared interests of the UK and the EU to avert a cliff-edge risk, a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario will remain a threat until the two sides sign a withdrawal agreement with transition arrangements.
“The risk of a ‘no-deal’ Brexit scenario is increasing and will remain a significant near-term threat to the aerospace and defence industry until a withdrawal agreement with transitional arrangements is signed,” said Jeanine Arnold, a Moody’s Vice President — Senior Credit Officer and author of the report.
Without new trade agreements, the EU and the UK would likely revert to World Trade Organization rules. It is hard to quantify the impact of a no-deal Brexit on the aerospace and defence sector, given that the UK, the EU and affected companies would likely take swift steps to limit short-term disruption.
However, trade disruption will pose a significant near-term risk in the event of a ‘no deal’ Brexit as the European aerospace supply chain is highly integrated, complex and already strained. There could be lengthy border checks that could delay deliveries of commercial aircraft, military equipment, their parts and components and there could be greater demands on working capital.
Although the UK is seeking to remain a member of the European Aviation Safety Agency (EASA), ‘a no-deal’ Brexit scenario heightens the risk that it may be excluded. Such an outcome would mean that UK companies would no longer be covered under existing regulatory approvals. Given the substantially negative fallout this would cause the industry in Europe, we would expect the EU to take measures to limit this risk. Increased trade barriers and any restrictions on the movement of people could prompt aerospace and defence companies to consider changes to their manufacturing footprint. But any such outlays would likely be made over the longer-term because of the significant costs and planning needed to transfer manufacturing sites. Cooperation on future cross-border programs appear to be at greater risk than existing programs, though even on future programs we would expect companies to partner with other companies based on their capabilities rather than where they may be based. Smaller aerospace and defence companies would be hardest hit by a no-deal Brexit because they would lack the scale, resources and liquidity to manage abrupt swings in working capital, relocate personnel and manufacturing sites, or invest in IT systems and additional overheads to deal with the added administrative burden of trade barriers. Of the large companies Moody’s rates, Rolls-Royce plc (A3 negative), Airbus SE (A2 stable) and Leonardo S.p.A. (Ba1 positive) would be most affected by a no-deal Brexit due to their UK sales exposure, the location of their manufacturing facilities, or risks to their ability to retain certifications. A no-deal Brexit could exacerbate current operational challenges and restructuring efforts in the industry following what has been a lengthy period of low defence spending, but also material R&D and ramp up costs associated with material new programs in aerospace. The report, “Aerospace and defence — Europe, Amid supply chain strains, trade disruption would be greatest risk of ‘no-deal’ Brexit”, is available on www.moodys.com (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Moody’s)
02 Oct 18. Russian buildup worries Norway before big NATO military exercise. On the Arctic archipelago of Svalbard, the sun does not rise for four months of the year and it is so cold that no trees grow there. But Norway, which has sovereignty over Svalbard, fears tensions between Russia and the West could spill over to this frozen and barren outpost because of growing interest in the Arctic’s valuable oil, gas and shipping routes. The Nordic country has been lobbying its partners in NATO to focus on collective defence of its territory rather than interventions outside its borders — and it has paid off. Norway will be the central staging ground of Trident Juncture, the North Atlantic Treaty Organisation’s biggest military exercise since 2002.
For two weeks from Oct. 25, 40,000 troops from 30 countries will conduct air, sea and land operations from Finland and the Baltic Sea in the east, to Iceland in the west. A command post exercise — involving commanders and their staffs at headquarters — will then be held from Nov. 14-23.
Oslo has also persuaded Washington to more than double the number of U.S. Marines present in Norway. Hundreds will from next year be sent to Troms, an Arctic region closer to Russia than the Marines’ current base in central Norway.
“We see that there is no reason to believe that potential tension could start in the Arctic, but it could easily end up here if it starts elsewhere,” Norwegian Foreign Minister Ine Eriksen Soereide told Reuters.
“And that is of course due to Russia building up their military capacity, especially on the Kola Peninsula,” she said in Ny-Aalesund, a research station on Svalbard that is the world’s northernmost permanent settlement.
Norway has a 196-km (122-mile) land border with Russia and Russia’s Northern Fleet has its main base in Severomorsk, about 100 km from the border with Norway on the Kola Peninsula, a region dotted with naval bases and restricted military zones.
NATO fears Russia’s military build-up in the Arctic, under way in the Arctic since 2008 and involving the creation and reopening of six military bases, could reduce the alliance’s freedom of navigation.
Russia, which staged its largest military manoeuvres since the Cold War in eastern Siberia in September, has also shown signs of concern about the military situation in Norway. It sees the plan to send more U.S. Marines there as an unfriendly act which could have “consequences”.
“This makes Norway less predictable and could cause growing tensions, triggering an arms race and destabilising the situation in northern Europe,” the Russian Embassy said in a statement on its Facebook page in June.
Norway has meanwhile been boosting economic activity on Svalbard, which is in the Arctic Ocean midway between continental Norway and the North Pole.
Svalbard’s traditional industry, coal mining, is not profitable so Oslo has increased tourism, scientific research and fisheries there.
Russia also has an interest in Svalbard. Under the 1920 treaty that gives Norway sovereignty over the archipelago, citizens of all signatories to the treaty can settle there without a Norwegian visa. This includes Russia.
There are 467 Russians registered as living on Svalbard and a Russian coal mining company has for decades operated in the town of Barentsburg. Another Russian settlement, Pyramiden, is now abandoned but is on the tourist trail as a Soviet ghost town.
Svalbard has moved up NATO’s agenda because of Russia’s annexation of the Crimea peninsula from Ukraine in 2014 and Moscow’s frequent naval exercises in the Arctic.
Norway, which was a founding member of NATO but is not a member of the European Union, has been beefing up its forces because of the Russian military buildup. It has ordered 52 F-35 fighter jets from Lockheed Martin, is rebuilding infrastructure to support them and is ordering four new submarines from Germany’s ThyssenKrupp. It is also building up a cavalry battalion in a military base in the Finnmark region bordering Russia.
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said Moscow will not threaten anyone from the Arctic but that it is taking measures to guarantee its security.
The modernisation of the Northern Fleet includes the addition of 23 new vessels including two nuclear submarines, the Russian defence ministry website quoted Valery Gerasimov, chief of the general staff of Russia’s armed forces, as saying.
Gerasimov said Russia had “restored its presence in the strategic regions of the Arctic Ocean and ensured security of its economic activity.”
By the end of this year, the Northern Fleet is set to receive weapons and equipment including five military ships, 15 planes and 62 radar facilities and air defence complexes, Defence Minister Sergei Shoigu was quoted as saying in August by Russian Zvezda TV channel.
In addition, coastal defence troops are supplied with three “Bal” and “Bastion” missiles divisions. New military airdromes are being built and others are being modernised by Russia.
The Russian Foreign Ministry did not respond to requests for comment.
U.S. WANTS TO ‘UP ITS GAME’
The U.S. military has also attached increasing importance to the Arctic, especially as global warming opens up new sea lanes and oil and mineral reserves.
“Certainly America’s got to up its game in the Arctic. There’s no doubt about that,” U.S. Defense Secretary Jim Mattis said this year.
Mattis visited Norway in July for talks with Soereide and Defence Minister Frank Bakke-Jensen. The deployment of additional Marines was confirmed the following month.
Oslo and Moscow concluded a deal in 2010 to end a dispute over their maritime border, enabling oil and gas exploration and allowing for visa-free travel permits for residents of the border areas.
But since Russia’s annexation of Crimea, Norwegian military and government officials have increasingly voiced concern, including about Russia simulating bombing raids on Norwegian targets and adopting quieter submarines that are harder to detect.
Norway is also worried Russia would be able to block NATO troop movements or reinforcements by taking control of the so-called GIUK gap — an area in the northern Atlantic Ocean between Greenland, Iceland and Britain.
Speaking in August on the arrival of German troops, tanks and equipment for the Trident Juncture manoeuvres, Frank Bakke-Jensen said the global and regional security environment had fundamentally changed.
“We need to take the old NATO mission — securing the North Atlantic and communications and supply lines across the Atlantic. This is what we’re exercising now, how to move big amounts of troops, vehicles and vessels,” he told Reuters. (Source: Reuters)
02 Oct 18. UK In Wedgetail Talks With Boeing. Britain’s defense secretary has revealed the government held discussions with Boeing over the purchase of a fleet of Wedgetail E-7 airborne warning and control aircraft. Discussions are also taking place with Australia about cooperating in the use of the aircraft, Gavin Williamson said.
Williamson said the Ministry of Defence had undertaken market analysis and discussions with other potential providers, concluding “that the potential procurement of the E-7 represents the best value for money option for the U.K. against need, whilst representing a significant opportunity for increased defense cooperation and collaboration with our key ally Australia. The Wedgetail is the stand-out performer in our pursuit of a new battlespace surveillance aircraft, and has already proved itself in Iraq and Syria,” Williamson said.
The MoD said in a statement that further discussions are set to take place prior to an investment decision.
“If selected, U.K. industry could be involved significantly with the program, from modification work to through life support,” the MoD said.
Said Williamson: “The MoD will work closely with Boeing to ensure [exploration of] how Britain’s leading defense industry could also benefit from any deal.”
One company expected to benefit from any E-7 deal is the Marshall Aerospace and Defence Group.
Marshall already builds auxiliary fuel tanks for the Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol aircraft program, and industry sources say the Cambridge, England-based company is set to convert 737 aircraft to the Wedgetail configuration as part of the deal.
The talks with Boeing about raising U.K. content on the aircraft are an effort to head off likely criticism over handing yet another major contract to the U.S. defense giant without holding a competition and with little in the way of work coming to local industry.
Boeing Apache attack helicopters and Poseidon P-8 maritime patrol aircraft have both recently been purchased without a competition.
The U.S. contractor is, however, trying to nullify criticism over growing its workforce here to 2,300 and spending a sizable sum of cash building Poseidon support facilities at the aircraft’s main Royal Air Force operating base at Lossiemouth, Scotland.
“We work with our U.K. supply chain, government and military partners to provide critical capability, U.K. content, U.K. exports, skills and value for money to our armed forces,” a Boeing spokesperson said.
The intention to undertake two large, sole-source deals in the armored vehicle sector U.S. and German companies have fueled anger from a number of British defense companies over the country’s procurement policy.
Any British Wedgetail deal would be done with Boeing and not through the U.S. government’s Foreign Military Sales route.
Williamson did not provide details on cost and aircraft numbers, but up to six aircraft are expected to be procured to replace the Royal Air Force’s aged Sentry E-3D fleet. The cost is likely to be in excess of £2bn (U.S. $2.6bn), putting more pressure on Britain’s overcommitted defense budget.
The likelihood of Wedgetail being purchased as a single-source procurement has provoked anger among potential rivals like Airbus and Saab. The two European companies discussed joining forces earlier this year in a move to offer a credible and cheaper option to the Wedgetail.
In June, parliamentary Defence Committee Chairman Julian Lewis wrote an open letter to then-Defence Procurement Minister Guto Bebb, urging him to hold a competition to replace the Sentry E-3Ds.
Williamson’s announcement is also notable for the increasing depth of cooperation emerging between Britain and Australia.
Australia already operates a fleet of Wedgetails, and a small number of British Royal Air Force personnel have been training on the aircraft since mid-year.
“Our future with Australia will already see us operate the same maritime patrol aircraft [the P-8], Type 26 warships and F-35 jets. Wedgetail may join that formidable armory and help us work together to take on the global threats that we both face,” Williamson said.
02 Oct 18. Expert study backs Airbus in Austrian Eurofighter investigation. On 27 September, a new expert study commissioned by Austrian prosecutors investigating the country’s EUR1.95bn (USD2.26bn) Eurofighter purchase in 2003, backed the jet’s manufacturers by concluding that the former EADS consortium was able to deliver the aircraft with the original sub-systems, Jane’s has learnt. In 2017, then defence minister Hanspeter Doskozil (SPOE) and his internal Ministry of Defence (MoD) task force led by Major General Hans Hamberger asked Vienna prosecutors to launch an investigation into the consortium after the MoD said it believed “they had misled and cheated Austria about the price and equipment of, as well as ability to deliver on, the 2003 deal”. The probe targeted 17 (mostly former EADS) managers up to Airbus chief executive Tom Enders who, along with company lawyer Peter Gauweiler denied all accusations. The names of the experts who conducted the new study have not been revealed so far. However, Jane’s has learnt from lawyers involved in the study that the former head of Armasuisse, Jürg Weber, was consulted as a technical expert earlier in 2018. He concluded “there were no delivery problems. Eurofighter/EADS always has had the necessary expertise to successfully complete its contracts and to deliver its products to the customer of the contractually agreed quality, on the contractually agreed dates and at the agreed costs.” (Source: IHS Jane’s)
02 Oct 18. UK launches Defence Arctic Strategy to address emerging threats. UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has launched a new Defence Arctic Strategy to address the increasing opportunities and threats present in the region. The change in natural environment in the Arctic and High North makes the region more accessible, significantly changing the security environment and increasing the need for military defence. The new strategy will help enhance the focus of the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) on the Arctic region, and will put the Arctic and the High North central under the security of the country. Williamson said: “As the ice melts and new shipping routes emerge, the significance of the High North and Arctic region increases. Russia, with more submarines operating under the ice and ambitions to build over 100 facilities in the Arctic, are staking a claim and militarising the region. We must be ready to deal with all threats as they emerge.”
As part of the Defence Arctic Strategy, British Royal Marines will carry out cold weather training in collaboration with Norway.
The strategy will be integrated into the defence plan of Norway, providing British troops an opportunity to train alongside a major allied nation. Furthermore, the defence plan has also been designed to complement the country’s NATO commitments. Next year, four Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets will be deployed by the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) for the first time to patrol Icelandic skies, enabling the country to work in close collaboration with allies to deter aerial threats to Euro Atlantic security. In 2020, a new fleet of P-8 Poseidon sub-hunting aircraft will be deployed to help combat a wide range of emerging threats and address the increasing submarine activity in the Arctic. (Source: naval-technology.com)
01 Oct 18. NATO Defense Chiefs Build 360-Degree Defense on Maturing Framework, Dunford Says. The NATO Military Committee Meeting in Warsaw this past weekend was so productive because the alliance chiefs of defense were able to build on the three-year framework put in place, Marine Corps Gen. Joe Dunford told reporters here today. The chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff said the Military Committee was able to flesh out the NATO 360-degree approach to security matters.
Dunford, who came to the position three-years ago, said there was not the appreciation of the Russian challenge then, that there is today. “There was also not the appreciation for violent extremism and the risk of terrorism in everybody’s backyard as there is today,” he said.
In 2015, the alliance began the debate on 360-degree security. “At that point, all the members of the alliance wanted to know if the alliance was relevant to the security challenges they confronted,” he said.
In the past three years, alliance heads of state have met twice – most recently at the Brussels summit in July. The political leaders affirmed the alliance will meet the 360-degree challenge. The alliance will defend against the threat posed by Russia and it will address the threats emanating from North Africa and the Middle East – primarily the risks of mass migration and acts of terror.
Political leaders also realized that alliance readiness levels were not where they needed to be, the chairman said. They affirmed that NATO needed to adapt both its command structure and capabilities in order to be relevant for the challenges faced today.
Three years ago, the alliance created enhanced forward presence to assure allies that NATO would act. That effort has matured and transformed into alliance deterrence, “and we need to project security to the South to mitigate the effects of violent extremism and terrorist acts,” Dunford said.
That political framework is in place now. As military leaders “we don’t have to debate what to do,” the general said.
The military leaders “have a very clear mandate” to adapt the NATO command structure. They also are working on the 4X30 readiness initiative that calls for 30 ships, 30 aircraft squadrons, 30 battalions of ground forces to be ready in 30 days. “So we have to figure how to implement that,” he said.
“Everyone has a different priority to the challenges we face, but we have cohesion in that the alliance is expected to address all 29 members security challenges whether that comes from the South or the East,” the general said. “It’s been the journey that we’ve been on in my three years as chairman.”
The alliance is first and foremost about deterrence. Then, if deterrence fails, it is about collective defense. “That requires a diplomatic effort and capabilities that can convince an adversary … that the cost that will be imposed will be much higher than whatever gain they can achieve,” he said.
An effective deterrent posture is most important when confronting Russia. Deterrence is across the board. NATO must deter in the nuclear, conventional and cyber realms. They also must be ready for capabilities that fall below the threshold of armed conflict that would be by definition aggressive and provocative acts, Dunford said.
NATO adaptation, measures taken to enhance deterrence, the European Defense Initiative are “all clearly intended to send a message to Russia that there is an effective conventional deterrent and a collective defense of NATO,” he said. “All of the activity that we do – our exercises, our training, our force posture – is all designed to ensure that our deterrence is effective.” (Source: US DoD)
01 Oct 18. Battle rages over EU defence pact. A diplomatic tussle has broken out over the European Union’s (EU) flagship defence cooperation pact, amid warnings the bloc could cut itself off from major allies like the US and post-brexit Britain. London and Washington want their defence companies to get involved with projects launched under the deal, but the EU is sharply at odds over what rules should be included for non-members to take part. A number of ministers and diplomats have told AFP that if the EU excludes non-members it risks sacrificing expertise on the altar of principle, just as fears about Russian threats to European security are running at post-cold war highs. Brussels launched ‘permanent structured cooperation on defence’, known as PESCO, in 2017 to great fanfare. The aim was to unify European defence thinking and to rationalise a fragmented approach to buying and developing military equipment.
There is broad agreement among the 25 states signed up that non-EU countries should be allowed to contribute to some of the projects.
But a group of four major states – led by France – want to set tough conditions to limit participation, dividing them from a bloc of 13 – led by the Netherlands – who favour a more inclusive approach.
Portuguese Defence Minister Jose Alberto Azeredo Lopes told AFP ‘the devil is always in the details – it’s very very easy to stress consensus concerning third state participation but it’s very difficult to define the conditions.’
Lopes said Portugal backed the Dutch approach of seeking cooperation from allies who can bring added value, whether it be established NATO players like the US and UK, or other countries like Brazil.
Across the divide, France leads Germany, Spain and Italy in arguing for a focus on promoting EU ‘strategic autonomy’ – reducing the bloc’s decades-long reliance on the US for its defence.
They say the rules for third countries must not undermine the main purpose of PESCO, which is to promote defence cooperation between the 25 EU countries taking part, arguing that there are other forums for third countries to cooperate.
But a number of diplomats and officials in Brussels told AFP the approach smacks of protectionism by countries with large defence industries – in particular France – as it would limit market access for British and US contractors.
The US ambassador to NATO, Kay Bailey Hutchison, warned the EU earlier in 2018 not to ‘fence off’ American, British or Norwegian defence companies. Such a move could ‘splinter’ the transatlantic security bond, she said.
Adding to the lure, the EU is planning to vastly expand its defence budget from 2021, allocating some EUR 13bn ($15bn) over seven years to research and develop new equipment – up from less than EUR 600m in the current budget.
Moreover, officials warn that without the US and Britain, the EU may miss out on expertise and information that would improve its defences.
One PESCO project, to work on making it easier to move tanks and troops around the bloc, has already run into difficulties because it cannot consult the US, which has decades of experience in moving its forces to bases around Europe.
A diplomat from one of the countries supporting the ‘inclusive’ approach said: ‘Shutting out potential partners at this stage is something we don’t think makes a lot of sense.’
The risk is even greater when it comes to cyber defence – a conflict domain of growing importance which can ignore traditional national borders.
Lithuania, which suffers thousands of cyber-attacks a year, most blamed on Russia, is leading a PESCO project to build up an intervention team to help countries hit by electronic warfare.
Edvinas Kerza, the country’s vice-minister of defence, said working with countries with strong cyber capabilities like Britain and the US would strengthen the effort.
Kerza said: ‘It’s obvious for me that I need to have a very good link, very good cooperation – not only sharing information, but practical cooperation with their authorities.’
Brussels officials are wrangling over the final terms of third-country involvement in PESCO in the hope of agreeing a deal that EU foreign ministers can approve at a meeting in November 2018. But officials told AFP that the divisions are such that this target may be missed.
Officials from potential partner countries say they need clarity about the rules they would be asked to sign up for. They have warned that if they cannot go through PESCO they may work around it to reach bilateral deals – dealing a major credibility blow to the EU’s flagship defence project.
An EU diplomat said: ‘The real trick will be that we raise the bar high enough that everyone can agree on it but not so high that third countries say ‘that’s too high and we’ll go around PESCO’.’ (Source: News Now/Shephard)
01 Oct 18. Statement by Pentagon Chief Spokesperson Ms. Dana W. White on Macedonia’s Referendum on the Prespa Agreement. The United States welcomes the positive results of Macedonia’s consultative referendum in which the citizens of Macedonia accepted the Prespa Agreement between Macedonia and Greece. We strongly support implementing this agreement and stand by the government in Skopje as they ultimately determine their country’s fate during this historical moment. The United States remains unwavering in our commitment to the strong bilateral defense relationship we have built with Macedonia, a strong contributor to the NATO mission in Afghanistan and regional security and cooperation enhancement initiatives in the Western Balkans. We support our Macedonian friends as they chart their own course to achieve peace and prosperity for their people. (Source: US DoD)
Lincad is a leading expert in the design and manufacture of batteries, chargers and associated products for a range of applications across a number of different sectors. With a heritage spanning more than three decades in the defence and security sectors, Lincad has particular expertise in the development of reliable, ruggedised products with high environmental, thermal and electromagnetic performance. With a dedicated team of engineers and production staff, all product is designed and manufactured in-house at Lincad’s facility in Ash Vale, Surrey. Lincad is ISO 9001 and TickITplus accredited and works closely with its customers to satisfy their power management requirements.
Lincad is also a member of the Joint Supply Chain Accreditation Register (JOSCAR), the accreditation system for the aerospace, defence and security sectors, and is certified with Cyber Essentials, the government-backed, industry supported scheme to help organisations protect themselves against common cyber attacks. The majority of Lincad’s products contain high energy density lithium-ion technology, but the most suitable technology for each customer requirement is employed, based on Lincad’s extensive knowledge of available electrochemistries. Lincad offers full life cycle product support services that include repairs and upgrades from point of introduction into service, through to disposal at the end of a product’s life. From product inception, through to delivery and in-service product support, Lincad offers the high quality service that customers expect from a recognised British supplier.