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06 Mar 19. US envoy warns EU over military project curbs. Ambassador to bloc insists transatlantic relationship strong despite criticisms. The EU risks retaliation from Washington if it presses ahead with plans to limit US companies’ involvement in pan-continental military projects, Washington’s envoy to Brussels has warned. Gordon Sondland told the Financial Times that if member states continued to hold businesses from outside the bloc at arm’s length because of “stubbornness or protectionism” on the multibillion-euro projects, the US would consider various responses unlikely to “be positive for either side”.
The ambassador said in an interview that transatlantic relationship remained fundamentally “very strong”, but he was sharply critical of EU states over both security and their dealings with China. Mr Sondland warned that proposed EU rules for funding joint bloc defence projects — such as the development of new infantry fighting vehicles and missile systems — threatened to curb the involvement of US companies and outside countries.
The European Commission has suggested it will bolster the European Defence Fund with a €13bn investment. “Even if they wanted to consider an R&D project from the United States, the way they’re proposing to write this is they can’t,” he said. “Their hands are going to be tied. That makes no sense to us at all and we’re engaged in some very, very in-depth discussions about why you would want to preclude at least your ability to consider . . . a US proposal.”
Husbands and wives have spats about money It doesn’t mean they’re going to get a divorce Gordon Sondland The ambassador added he was confident the EU would alter its plan to consider third country participation only on a case-by-case basis because “common sense dictates they should change it”.
Governments including the UK, which is due to leave the EU this month, are concerned that planned controls on intellectual property ownership for materials developed in bloc-funded military projects will deter third countries from participating. “If for some reason it’s just a stubbornness or protectionism that doesn’t allow it to be changed, I think the United States has a lot of responses . . . which I don’t think would be positive for either side,” warned Mr Sondland.
The ambassador was also highly critical of Europe’s handling of China. The head of Germany’s national cyber security agency last month backed a “no-spy” deal to manage concerns about using Huawei equipment in new 5G mobile communications networks. Mr Sondland warned that such agreements were unreliable, adding that using Chinese 5G mobile technology risked making European countries vulnerable the communist country “for the next ten to 20 years”. US Ambassador to the European Union Gordon Sondland, Energy Secretary Rick Perry, Secretary of State Mike Pompeo, EU Commission Vice President Federica Mogherini, EU Commission Member Miguel Arias Canete, EU Commission Vice President Maros Sefcovic, and Federal Minister Juliane Bogner Strauss pose before a meeting in Brussels, Belgium, © Reuters The US envoy has developed a reputation for delivering tough policy messages and critiques of EU institutions since his appointment last year. This has included denouncing the European Commission for “dogmatic posturing” this month after its efforts to put four US territories and Saudi Arabia on an anti-money-laundering blacklist sparked a revolt by EU member states. Mr Sondland, however, denied relations between the US and EU were “irreparably damaged” because of rifts on subjects ranging from trade to the Iran nuclear deal — and Mr Trump’s pressure on European allies to increase their military spending. He said the EU ‘s pressure on crisis-hit Venezuela to hold elections was an example of how the bloc and Washington could find common ground when they were both “very clear and very firm” on a subject. “Husbands and wives have spats about money,” he said. “It doesn’t mean they’re going to get a divorce.” (Source: FT.com)
06 Mar 19. Spanish Agency Accused of Corruption in Saudi Arms Sales. An investigating magistrate in Spain is accusing senior officials at a state-owned export agency of corruption, money-laundering and other crimes in connection with Spanish arms sales to Saudi Arabia. A National Court statement issued Wednesday said magistrate Jose de la Mata wants to put on trial nine people, including the former president and some board members of Defex, which markets goods manufactured in Spain. The court says they are accused of illegal conduct surrounding 11 contracts worth more than 48m euros ($54m). The magistrate says he found “solid” evidence Defex paid illegal commissions to Saudi Arabian officials for tank and artillery shells and automatic weapon ammunition. A judge will decide whether to proceed with a trial. The court is also weighing a possible trial for Defex officials over arms sales to Angola and Cameroon. (Source: glstrade.com/New York Times.com)
07 Mar 19. Announcement over Royal Navy HMS Prince of Wales ‘up for sale’ rumours. Armed forces minister Mark Lancaster has spoken out after rumours circulated that the super carrier – which has yet to undergo sea trials – is to be sold to the highest bidder. The Government has addressed rumours the Royal Navy’s brand new super aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales is to be sold for huge cash or locked away in storage once it’s built. The 65,000 beast – currently being built in Scotland – is set to form part of an elite strike-force alongside fellow Solent powerhouse HMS Queen Elizabeth and the new generation of Type 26 frigates set to be base-ported in Plymouth.
Rumours reportedly began swimming about in the Treasury that a deal to flog Prince of Wales – which alongside QE are the biggest in the fleet’s history – was on the cards.
Armed forces minister Mark Lancaster added fuel to the fire after he failed to quash the rumour mill during a debate in the Commons, despite insisting work was racing ahead to hand her over to navy chiefs come the end of the year.
It comes as fears grow that Spain – where tensions have grown over control of UK Gibraltar waters – is on the cusp of landing a lucrative £1bn deal to build three new Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships required to support the elite carriers with their international duties. But now the Whitehall supremo has denied in a statement to The News, Portsmouth, that there are any plans in the works to dump the super carrier.
“There are no plans in place to mothball HMS Prince of Wales,” Mr Lancaster told News defence correspondent Tom Cotterill.
“If I spent my time debunking every rumour that surfaces on a weekly basis I’d have little chance to do anything else.”
Fears raged that Prince of Wales had been earmarked for the chop in a bid to cut down on a multi-billion pound ‘black hole’ in the Ministry of Defence’s budgets.
Naval personnel involved with HMS Prince of Wales’ preparation for sea trials told Plymouth Live this week of their pride in playing a key role in the huge project. CPO McNeil, who lives in Plymouth, said: “I love being on HMS Prince of Wales. It’s a big challenge bringing such a big ship, with so many components, together, and getting her safe for sea is mega.
“I’ve got a big department to manage, but the lads are really up for it. I’ve been on board since the beginning of July last year. This is a great training facility.” (Source: News Now/https://www.plymouthherald.co.uk)
06 Mar 19. Germany extending Saudi arms freeze to end-March – foreign minister. Germany said on Wednesday it would extend until the end of March a unilateral halt on arms shipments to Saudi Arabia imposed due to concerns about its role in Yemen’s war and the killing of a journalist, stretching the embargo beyond a March 9 deadline. Germany’s coalition government is under mounting pressure from Britain and France, its partners in European defence projects including supplies of military equipment, to lift the ban or risk damage to commercial credibility.
Already worried about Saudi involvement in Yemen’s ruinous conflict, Germany’s coalition government agreed to ban future arms sales to Riyadh in November after Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi was murdered by Saudi agents in Istanbul. It also temporarily halted deliveries of previously approved kit.
“We in the government have decided to extend the export ban until the end of March, and we have done this with an eye on developments in Yemen,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told reporters in Berlin.
“Not only will there not be any permits issued until the end of this month, but products with permits already granted will also not be delivered,” he added.
Maas is the first government official to publicly confirm the extension, which was first reported last week.
The issue is dividing Germany’s ruling coalition, with Maas’s Social Democrats, junior partners to Chancellor Angela Merkel’s conservatives, reluctant to alienate voters who are generally sceptical about arms sales and military spending.
Germany’s decision to unilaterally halt all shipments of military equipment to Saudi Arabia after the killing Khashoggi has brought long-standing differences between Berlin and its European partners over arms controls to a tipping point. The move has put a question mark over billions of euros of military orders, including a 10bn pound ($13.13bn) deal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Riyadh, and has prompted some firms such as Airbus to strip German components from some of their products. (Source: Reuters)
06 Mar 19. UK commits £66m funding to boost military robotic projects. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has allocated £66m in funding to accelerate robotic projects for the British Army. Set out by UK Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson, the new grant is part of MoD’s new £160m transformation fund. The British Army will soon benefit from equipment for robotic projects such as new mini-drones, autonomous logistics vehicles and systems with remote control capability for use on combat vehicles. Lighter and smaller drones will provide soldiers with enhanced situational awareness on the battlefield. New systems set to be installed on army vehicles will safeguard troops from being harmed while gaining a better understanding of enemy defences before deploying manned vehicles.
Autonomous logistics vehicles will support the distribution of important supplies in conflict zones. They will also assist in removing troops from hazardous resupply tasks to help them focus on combat roles.
Speaking at the Autonomous Warrior Exploitation Conference at the Science Museum in Kensington, UK, Williamson said: “Each of these new technologies will enhance our army’s capabilities whilst reducing the risk to our personnel and I’m delighted we will be revolutionising frontline technology by the end of the year.
“The MoD has always embraced pioneering technology and this fund will ensure the UK stays at the forefront of global military capabilities and ahead of our adversaries.”
The new systems will be fielded later this year to support missions in countries such as Estonia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
One of the first brigades to receive the equipment will be 16 Air Assault Brigade, Colchester, a brigade specifically trained to deploy by helicopter, parachute and air landing. The new technology will increase their safety and combat efficiency. Furthermore, £340m in funding would be made accessible as part of the spending review. Last year, the army tested various projects involving drones during Exercise Autonomous Warrior, one of the biggest military robot exercises in British history. (Source: army-technology.com)
06 Mar 19. Pocket-size drones help army fight robot war. A fleet of tiny drones that are smaller than a hand will be used by the army to boost battlefield surveillance. The pocket-size “eye-in-the-sky” unmanned aerial vehicles, which weigh less than 200g, are designed to help to outmanoeuvre the enemy. They will be deployed to spy on suspected terrorists inside buildings and to fly around corners and over obstacles to identify hidden dangers before soldiers arrive. The drones will add to nano-spy cameras first used by Britain in Afghanistan.
Gavin Williamson, the defence secretary, said that £31m would be spent on the unmanned aerial surveillance systems as part of a wider £66m cash injection into army robotics.
Part of the funding will go on converting existing fighting vehicles into remote-controlled driverless systems.
Money will also go towards autonomous logistics vehicles that will deliver vital supplies to troops in war zones, freeing personnel for combat roles and removing them from dangerous logistics tasks.
While the Ministry of Defence (MoD) is embracing autonomy in logistics, the government has stressed that any lethal weapons systems that are developed must be operated by humans. There is no international convention on the use of autonomous “killer robots” at present, however, and some nations have taken a more aggressive approach to pursuing their development.
The cash for the technology will come from a £160m MoD “transformation fund” and has been allocated following trials on Salisbury Plain as part of Exercise Autonomous Warrior, the largest ever British military robotics exercise.
Mr Williamson is fighting for an additional £340m for the fund from the comprehensive spending review taking place this spring. Some of the new technology will be deployed to Estonia, Afghanistan and Iraq.
General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, head of the army, said the innovation would improve the military’s “lethality, survivability and competition advantage”. He added: “Rapid adaptation is an essential ingredient for success on the battlefield.” While the investment has been welcomed by the army, it comes after a freedom of information request revealed a £1.5bn cut to the army’s land procurement budget this year.
Francis Tusa, editor of Defence Analysis, who obtained the data, warned that programmes at risk include modernising the Warrior fighting vehicles, and extending the life of Challenger 2, the Army’s main battle tank, he said.
An MoD spokesman said: “The army regularly takes strategic decisions about its equipment programme that may see expenditure reprioritised between different funding streams.” (Source: The Times)
06 Mar 19. Why Farnborough Airshow will no longer be open to the public. Farnborough Airshow will no longer include a weekend of public flying displays, following a “very negative and vitriolic” response to last year’s show. The airshow, held every two years at Farnborough Airport in Hampshire, close to the Surrey border, will “return to its roots” in July 2020 as a trade show, showcasing new technologies in the aviation, aerospace and defence industries, the BBC reports.
Mary Kearney, spokeswoman for Farnborough International, which organises the event, said the feedback from the 2018 show indicated organisers could “no longer provide an airshow the public want”.
The event “is hugely popular in the local area”, says Surrey and Hampsire radio station Eagle FM, and last year’s event attracted more than 80,000 visitors.
However, social media pages for the airshow were flooded with negative reviews from attendees who said the air displays were lacklustre, Get Surrey reports.
“Many picked out the display of the Red Arrows – a brief flypast performance – as a reason behind claiming it was one of the worst shows in recent times,” the website adds.
Kearney said that new safety rules introduced after the fatal crash at the Shoreham Airshow in Kent in 2015 had “certainly had an impact” on the kinds of displays organisers were able to offer.
She said that teams such as the RAF Red Arrows were no longer able put on “fast aerobatic displays” expected by the public, and that the restrictions had “expedited” Farnborough International’s decision to cancel the public weekend.
Instead, members of the public will be able to visit the exhibition halls on the final day of the show, in a move which organisers claim will “engage and inspire a new generation” to learn more about the industries.
Gareth Rogers, chief executive of Farnborough International, said: “Removing the public weekend will disappoint some, but for our exhibitors and trade visitors the focus is on business and accessing the talent they need to sustain global competitiveness.” (Source: Google/https://www.theweek.co.uk)
05 Mar 19. German Minister: Cyprus Valued Partner in EU Defense Project. Germany’s defense minister says her country is looking to boost defense cooperation with Cyprus, which she called a valuable partner in the European Union’s defense strategy due to its location and military facilities. Minister Ursula von der Leyen said Tuesday after talks with her Cypriot counterpart Savvas Angelides that Germany will intensify cooperation with Cyprus on logistics and military mobility within the EU’s joint military investment and project development program.
Leyen said Cyprus has a “unique selling point” in both its defense capabilities as well as its “unique geostrategic location.”
She said Germany and all other EU member states see adherence to the rule of law as essential to regional peace and stability. (Source: glstrade.com/New York Times.com)
04 Mar 19. Berlin arms policy risks ‘German-free’ European defence projects. Germany’s latest restrictions on arms exports risk making Berlin a pariah in Europe’s defence industry, threatening future collaboration on weapons development and its own ambitions to foster a common European defence policy. Germany’s decision to unilaterally halt all shipments of military equipment to Saudi Arabia in November after the killing of journalist Jamal Khashoggi has brought long-standing differences between Berlin and its European partners over arms controls to a tipping point.
The move has put a question mark over billions of euros of military orders, including a 10bn pound deal to sell 48 Eurofighter Typhoon jets to Riyadh, and has prompted some firms such as Airbus to strip German components from some of their products.
With British defence contractor BAE Systems, the company behind the Eurofighter Typhoon, warning that the German embargo would weigh on its financial performance, London and Paris are racing to convince Berlin to lift it.
The Social Democrats (SPD), junior partners in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s government, want to keep the arms freeze against Saudi Arabia in place and reach agreement on a more restrictive export policy, keen to avoid further losses among German voters who are cautious on arms sales.
Merkel’s conservatives, keen to smooth the rift with France and Britain, are piling pressure on the SPD by accusing them of jeopardising German industry and jobs.
But the SPD notes that the coalition parties agreed last year to halt future arms sales to any countries involved in the Yemen conflict, which includes Saudi Arabia.
Paralyzed by domestic political squabbling, Berlin on Friday put off a decision about extending the embargo beyond its current March 9 deadline till the end of the month, fuelling concerns among European allies and industry.
“We see no way to resolve the issue at this point,” said one European industry official. “There’s a complete stalemate.”
PARTNERSHIP WITH FRANCE
Germany, which has tightened controls on arms sales in recent years, accounts for just under 2 percent of total Saudi arms imports. But its role in making components for other countries’ exports means that Berlin can still derail lucrative European projects.
In addition to the Eurofighter Typhoon contract, Germany’s Saudi arms ban is also holding up shipments of Meteor air-to-air missiles to Saudi Arabia by MBDA, which is jointly owned by Airbus, BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo, since the missiles’ propulsion system and warheads are built in Germany.
Two sources familiar with coalition discussions said the parties could agree to a partial lifting of the freeze for a number of patrol boats being built for Saudi Arabia by privately-held Luerssen, and the Meteor missiles, since neither system is being used in the Yemen war. However nothing was decided, and the Eurofighter sale was still in question.
Agreements covering the Eurofighter and the Meteor missile were meant to prevent any country unilaterally halting exports but they were framed as memorandums of understanding to safeguard confidentiality, not binding formal treaties.
Berlin’s failure to abide by these agreements and its lack of coordination with France on the Saudi arms embargo have Paris convinced it needs a binding agreement before moving ahead on joint weapons programmes with Germany valued at tens of billions of euros over the next decades. Paris and Berlin have drafted a bilateral paper spelling out that the two countries will only block each other’s exports when “direct interests or national security are compromised”, excluding something like the Khashoggi case. But discord within Germany’s ruling coalition has stalled its completion, according to two sources familiar with the issue. It also remains unclear if the bilateral pact needs German parliamentary approval.
The SPD had no immediate new comment on the issue, but party leader Andrea Nahles last month said her party would insist on agreement on tighter German export guidelines before moving forward on other issues such as Franco-German defence ties.
Eric Trappier, chief executive of Rafale-maker Dassault Aviation, said last week it was watching the process closely. “It is obvious that if we are really going to launch a Franco-German fighter programme, the export rules need to be defined as soon as possible,” he told reporters.
Dirk Hoke, head of Airbus Defence and Space, told Reuters an agreement was imperative before the two countries could move ahead on the new warplane, or sign a contract as expected by year’s end for joint work on a new European drone.
“This will harm Germany’s partnership with France in the longer-term if no serious, long-term solutions are found,” he said.
The spat over arms also impedes German and French efforts to more closely integrate European defence procurement and programmes, and ultimately build a European army. Exports are critical to ensuring the success of any jointly developed programmes because they make them more economical.
“Germany’s export policies are the main reason behind France’s decision to develop a successor to the Franco-German anti-tank weapon of the 1970s,” said Matthias Wachter, a senior official with the BDI Federation of German Industry.
“We in industry have the impression that the German government is paralysed when it comes to military procurement and export.”
Asked whether Berlin’s policy was isolating it in Europe, Germany government spokesman Steffen Seibert said: “We know that this issue is a topic for several of our most important allies and that a decision is required. That is why we are carrying on intensive discussions inside the German government, and will make decisions in March.”
The issue of how to accommodate differing views on arms controls in Europe is not new. The 1972 Franco-German Debre-Schmidt accord called for consultation over arms exports, preventing one side from banning the exports of the other. But divergent public attitudes strained the compromise over time, and a spate of new projects has prompted calls for a new look.
What is different this time round, is the action companies are taking to rid themselves of their German suppliers.
While it would be nearly impossible to remove the German content – about a third – from the Eurofighter, Airbus has begun redesigning its C295 military transporter to replace German-built navigational lamps that account for 4 percent of the plane, company sources told Reuters last week.
It is also looking for alternatives to German parts that account for about 15 percent of the content on the A330-based MRTT tanker that it has sold to 12 countries including Saudi Arabia, one of the sources said.
Similar moves are underway in France, where German curbs on arms exports to other countries have already caused one smaller company, PME Nicolas Industrie, to announce dozens of layoffs.
France is also developing on its own a successor to the MILAN anti-tank guided missile it built with Germany in the 1970s, and French truck maker Arquus has begun marketing a truck for export to the Middle East as “German-free”, sources said.
Germany’s credibility and autonomy are at stake, said Thomas Kleine-Brockhoff, former adviser to the German president and director of the German Marshall Fund (GMF) in Berlin.
“The long-term consequence of the current export policy could be that there will no longer be a defence industry in Germany,” he said.
Germany’s defence industry employs about 80,000 people and generated sales of about 25bn euros in 2014, a fraction of the 1 million jobs and 370bn euros in sales reported by the German car industry in the same year, a study commissioned by the German Economy Ministry shows.
Any moves to replace German parts in weapons systems could take 2-3 years to implement, and even longer to undo, said one source involved in the issue. “Once you’ve switched to German-free production, it will take years to go back.”
The U.S. satellite industry is still feeling the brunt of strict U.S. export rules known as International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), whose implementation fuelled the rise of “ITAR-free” satellite production in Europe and cost U.S. firms billions of dollars of potential orders. (Source: Reuters)
28 Feb 19. Technical Modernization Plan – A Road Map for the Development of the Polish Army. “Security has been, is and will be a priority for us. A moment ago, I signed one of the most important planning documents: the Technical Modernization Plan until 2026. The plan assumes modernization worth PLN 185bn, — PLN 45 bn more than the previous plan. This is a record plan when it comes to cost. This is obviously a major challenge, but also an opportunity to develop the defense capabilities of the Polish Army,” said Minister of National Defense Mariusz Błaszczak after signing the Technical Modernization Plan.
On Thursday, at the General Headquarters of the RSZ in Warsaw, the head of the Ministry of National Defense met with the commanding staff of the Polish Armed Forces.
“We will change the face of the Polish Army in a decisive and effective manner, we will equip the Polish Army with modern equipment. A larger Polish Army is another goal I set for myself. We will be consistent in these activities. The technical modernization plan is a roadmap. This document forms the foundation for the development of the Polish armed forces,” the minister said after the briefing.
Minister Błaszczak emphasized that the programs included in the document signed today reflect the challenges facing the Polish Army and the Ministry of National Defense. One of them is the strengthening of the eastern flank, and thus the formation of a new, fourth division of the Polish Army.
“I set up a new division located east of the Vistula. As a rule, modern equipment will be directed there. Strengthening the eastern flank is a measure aimed at strengthening the capabilities of the Polish Army, but it also constitutes a significant strengthening of the entire NATO eastern flank,” the minister stressed.
In the document signed today, the Harpia program is the most important – the purchase of fifth generation aircraft. As Minister Blaszczak pointed out, new aircraft are essential equipment, and its purchase for the Ministry of Defense’s leadership is a priority. “I expect both the head of the General Staff and the head of the Armament Inspectorate to take immediate action to accomplish this task. We want to buy 32 multi-role aircraft of the fifth generation,” he said.
Among the priority tasks set out in the modernization plan are the Narew program (acquisition of short-range anti-aircraft missiles for combating, among others, unmanned aerial vehicles), Kruk (purchase of attack helicopters) and Orka (purchase of submarines) was registered. “We will also rebuild the combat capabilities of the Navy. We have prepared a bridging solution for submarines, we will not give up any of the programs related to the expansion of the Polish Navy,” the minister stressed.
One of the areas that will be modernized under the Plan is cyber security. “In the technical modernization plan, we also focus on the purchase of modern cryptographic and IT equipment for the defense forces in cyberspace. Expenditure for the cyberspace defense forces will amount to PLN 3bn (€700m),” said Minister Blaszczak.
“The value of the Technical Modernization Plan, by 2026, that is 185 bn zlotys (€43bn), but the needs are much larger. (…) I am very happy that the Parliament and the President have accepted the extension of the planning perspective to 15 years, so we are already working on the Technical Modernization Plan until 2034. The PiS government’s achievement is also the introduction of the 2017 law, which increases defense expenditures to 2.5% in 2030, so these financial expenditures are growing every year. The opportunities from year to year are also growing, so we invest effectively in defense. For the PiS government, previously the government of Beata Szydło, and now under the government of Prime Minister Mateusz Morawiecki, security was, is and will be a priority,” the minister added at the end.
In 2018, the Ministry of National Defense prepared “Detailed directions of reconstruction and technical modernization of the Armed Forces for 2017-2026”, which were adopted by the Council of Ministers. Then, the head of the Ministry of Defense signed an order introducing the “Armed Forces Development Program”. The Technical Modernization Plan is another of the strategic documents adopted by the Ministry.
Modernization Plan tor 2026: Selected Tasks
— HARPIA program:
Acquiring a new generation multi-mission aircraft that will introduce a new level of quality in aviation operations. A multipurpose aircraft will operate in an anti-access and network-centric environment and will cooperate with components of allied air forces.
— The NAREW program:
Acquisition of anti-aircraft batteries of short-range missile systems to defend against unmanned aerial vehicles, as well as incoming missiles. We anticipate extensive use of the Polish arms industry and technology transfer among others the ability to produce the required missiles.
— The KRUK program:
Acquisition of modern shock helicopters for aviation of land forces.
— Cyber.mil program:
As part of the Cyber.mil operational program, we will acquire domestic tools and software that will enable us to carry out effective operations in cyberspace, with the latest Polish cryptographic technologies. We will mainly use the capabilities of Polska Grupa Zbrojeniowa and Exatel, and we intend to allocate PLN 3 bn to the program itself.
— The WISŁA program:
The WISŁA anti-aircraft and anti-missile program of will be one of the main elements forming the national air defense system. On March 28, 2018, Minister Mariusz Błaszczak signed a contract for the implementation of the first stage of the WISŁA program. Its basic task will be to fight manned and unmanned aerial attacks as well as tactical short-range battle missiles and maneuvering missiles.
— GRYF program:
Acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles of medium-range tactical class.
— The WAŻKA program:
Acquisition of unmanned aerial vehicles intended for use mainly in urbanized areas. Equipped with an opto-electronic head that allows observation day and night.
— FLAME program:
Acquiring comprehensive reconnaissance aircrafts.
— MUNICIPAL program
Obtaining the coast defense ship, which is to replace the withdrawn from the service of the unit and increase the ability to cooperate in allied and coalition task forces.
— ORKA program:
Acquiring the ability to damage surface and submarine targets by the New Type Submarine. This boat will increase the ability to effectively use the armaments and impact potential of ships in the field of combating surface, underwater and land targets, as well as destroying airborne anti-submarine forces.
— The REGINA program:
Acquiring 155mm artillery modules. This equipment will enhance the fire support capability at the tactical level. The contractor is Huta Stalowa Wola. As part of the Technical Modernization Plan, it is planned to acquire further squadron modules.
— A company fire module 120 mm self-propelled mortars RAK:
Acquisition of several company fire modules as part of the modernization of the Missile and Artillery Armies. Mortars are produced by the Consortium of HSW SA and ROSOMAK SA
— HOMAR program:
Acquisition of a squad module of multiple rocket launchers, capable of striking targets at ranges of 70 to 300 km.
— HUST program:
Acquiring anti-tank missile launchers. Thanks to the implementation of the program, the Polish Armed Forces will be equipped with new lightweight, anti-tank guided missiles, which do not require complicated training.
— BORSUK program:
Introduction of a new combat vehicle based on a universal modular tracked chassis developed and manufactured by the Polish defense industry for the Polish Armed Forces. It will replace, among others, the well-worn BMP-1 armored vehicle of Soviet construction, and will have the ability to swim.
— The MUSTANG program:
Acquiring high-mobility trucks and passenger cars.
Planned increase in expenditure on technical modernization until 2026.
— 2017 – approx. PLN 8.8bn
— 2018 – approx. PLN 12.5bn *
— 2019 – approx. PLN 11bn
— 2020 – approx. PLN 14bn
— 2021 – approx. PLN 17.6bn
— 2022 – approx. PLN 19.2bn
— 2023 – approx. PLN 20.3bn
— 2024 – about PLN 25bn
— 2025 – approx. PLN 25.9bn
* including additional funds obtained at the request of the Minister of National Defense
Comparison of expenditures of Technical Modernization Plans
— PMT 2013-2022 – approx. PLN 140bn (€32.5bn)
— PMT until 2026 – approx. PLN 185bn (€43bn)
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)
(Source: defense-aerospace.com/Polish Ministry of Defence)
03 Mar 19. The UK Defence Secretary has announced an allocation of £11m of additional funding to bolster the UK’s response to chemical attacks. This will help fund a range of measures including developing plans to deploy drones and robots into potentially hazardous areas and investing in new technical capabilities boosting Dstl’s ability to analyse substances.
The Sun, Sunday Telegraph and Sunday Times all carry coverage of the announcement. Most of the reporting is focused around the potential use of drones and robots in hazardous areas, a move that will cut risks to personnel and help identify threats faster. All note that the £11m has been allocated in response to an evolving threat and will ensure the UK remains a global leader in chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear defence. The reporting also links this announcement to the anniversary of the Salisbury Novichock incident which military teams spent over 13,000 hours on the clean up effort.
Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson said: “After the Novichok attack in Salisbury a year ago, the nation turned to the Armed Forces and expert scientists. From the investigation to the clean-up, the military and everyone involved in the operation have worked tirelessly to decontaminate the streets of Salisbury. Britain and its allies have also demonstrated that they will take a stand against the use of chemical weapons, from the sanctions enforced on Russia following the reckless use of Novichok to the strikes against the chemicals used by Syrian regime. We recognise we need resilience to face evolving threats which is why we have invested £1m into ensuring we have a world-leading capability.” (Source: U.K. MoD)
02 Mar 19. Turkey has more than 600 ongoing national defence projects, says vice president. Turkey is currently meeting 65 percent of its defence needs through its own local and national industry and has more than 600 ongoing national defence projects, Turkish vice president said on Saturday, Anadolu Agency reported. Fuat Oktay said Turkey found it essential to use its own resources in the defence industry while speaking in a summit organised by the Turkish Aerospace Industries (TAI). Turkey has been working day and night to develop its own arms industry, particularly since the early 2000s, the vice president said.
“In the defence industry, our local production rate increased from some 15 percent to 65. Using the experience we got with the ATAK [T-129] helicopter, for instance, we opened a whole new page with heavy-class attack helicopters,” Oktay said.
Turkey currently has more than 600 national projects in the field of defence technologies, he said, adding that the country’s first national aircraft would be in the sky in 2026 and would be added to the inventory in 2031.
“In 2002, we exported defence and aviation industry products worth $248m, and by 2018, this figure had risen eightfold to over $2.035bn,” Oktay said.
Developing a national defence industry and increasing Turkey’s arms exports is one of the priorities of Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan. Last year, Turkey tested an engine to be used in the production of locally made helicopters, while it sold 30 attack helicopters to Pakistan, its largest defence export on record. (Source: Google/ https://ahvalnews.com)
04 Mar 19. ‘Betrayal’ if £1bn contracts for Royal Fleet Auxiliary ‘solid support ships’ are given to Spain. Accusations of ‘betrayal’ were last night fired towards Whitehall after fears three supply ships for the navy’s new aircraft carriers would be built in Spain – not the UK. Defence officials are still working out who will claim the £1bn contract to construct the new ‘solid support ships’ for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA). There is growing unease that the contracts could be given to foreign shipbuilding yards. However, The News can today reveal a growing sense of unease within the nation’s top shipbuilding firms over the government’s ‘eagerness’ to ditch British yards in favour of foreign ones to construct the vessels. Insiders have claimed Spain could well be at the front of the queue of a line-up of other nations keen to clinch the lucrative contract. Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials last night declined to comment on this and said any decision about where the vessels would be built was well over a year away. However, Councillor Gerald Vernon-Jackson, leader of Portsmouth City Council, said there was a clear level of concern among industry executives following a conference with maritime chiefs at the Guildhall last month. ‘The decision to not ring-fence the construction of the three new RFA ships to be built in British yards is a significant problem and one that is incredibly concerning,’ he said. ‘These are highly complex ships carrying quantities of munitions, so they have to be very powerfully built, and be able to be in a war zone and yet the government are choosing to probably allow them to be built in Spain.’
The news comes as the Spanish navy continues its aggressive push into British waters off the coast of Gibraltar. In the past few months, Spaniards have illegally entered British territorial waters and demanded other vessels to leave. Only last week, a tiny Royal Navy patrol ship was forced to intercept the Spanish warship Infanta Cristina in a tense two-hour stand-off. Stephen Sedgwick, who lived on Gibraltar for 32 years before moving to Portsmouth, was sickened that Spain could be in the running to build the British ships. HMS Prince of Wales: What does it mean if Royal Navy Queen Elizabeth-class carrier is mothballed? He said people in his beloved British territory felt ‘betrayed’ by the government for ‘even considering it’. The 48-year-old, of Malta Road, Buckland, said: ‘If Britain awards this contract to Spain it will be a kick in the teeth for British industry and an even bigger one for Gibraltar. ‘It will send a clear message to Spain that shows Britain really doesn’t care what they do, how many times they infringe on British waters or threaten Gibraltar – they will still get multi-million pound contracts to build RFA ships helping the Royal Navy ‘It’s a disgusting and a complete betrayal of all the British workmen.’ This month will see yet another one of the UK’s yards closing. Appledore, in Devon, will be shutting shop after 164 years – in a move set to echo the closure of Portsmouth’s own historic shipbuilding trade several years ago. Steve Turner, assistant general secretary at Unite union, told The News: ‘Awarding the contract for the design, engineering and manufacturing of the navy’s three new RFA ships to an overseas shipyard would be a gross betrayal of the UK’s world-class shipbuilders. ‘Not only would it rob our manufacturing and shipbuilding communities of secure decent jobs for generations to come, it would deprive the treasury of tax revenues from businesses and workers alike.’ An MoD spokesman said they were ‘required by law to procure’ the three fleet solid support ships ‘through open international competition’. He added: ‘The competition began in 2018 and there are currently five potential bids, including one from a UK consortium.’ A final decision on the winning bid will be made in 2020. (Source: News Now/https://www.portsmouth.co.uk
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