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23 May 19. Turkey Thinks That US Cannot Kick Ankara Out of the F-35 Deal. Tensions have escalated between two NATO allies after Washington gave Ankara two weeks to decide on its S-400 deal with Russia, threatening to remove the country from the F-35 program. But Turkey has so far dismissed the threats. The US is threatening its NATO ally with removal from the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) Program and sanctions if Ankara goes ahead with its purchase of Russian S-400 defence system from Moscow. Anonymous US State Department officials say Turkey has just two weeks to decide on the S-400 issue to avoid facing the consequences, which include its termination from the F-35 program.
“We underscore that Turkey will face very real and negative consequences if it completes its S-400 delivery,” one of the State Department officials said. “NATO countries need to procure military equipment that is interoperable with NATO systems. A Russian system would not meet that standard,” the official added.
But the Turkish defence department has other thoughts about the US threat of removal from the program.
“They cannot kick us out [of] the program, which has the participation of nine countries, without getting the consent of all the members,” a Turkish defence department official said.
“The F-35 program is based on a very comprehensive deal agreed [by nine countries]. Every state loyal to [international] law should be careful [about not violating] this agreement,” Turkish deputy foreign minister Yavuz Selim Kiran Kiran warned.
The Turkish defence official also draws attention to the fact that if Turkey were to be removed from the program, the entire agreement should be renewed or go through another round of approvals in each participant country, which will bring several unnecessary obstacles to implementing the program.
Removing Turkey from the program could be a violation of the Memorandum of Understanding (MoU) signed among the member states of the program, according to Turkish legal experts. (end of excerpt)
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: A defense policy bill unveiled on Thursday by the U.S. Senate Armed Services Committee contains a provision barring the US government from delivering F-35 fighters to Turkey unless the U.S. secretaries of Defense and State “certify [Turkey] has not accepted delivery of S-400 from Russia and has provided reliable assurances it will not do so in the future,” Defense One reported.
It quoted a senior aide from the committee saying there was “no wiggle room” for Trump to get around the bill.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TRT World)
23 May 19. Croatia in Talks with Sweden, U.S. on Fighter Jets: Minister. Croatia is in talks with Sweden and the United States on buying fighter jets to modernize its air force, Defense Minister Damir Krsticevic said on Thursday.
Zagreb was close to striking a deal on buying a squadron of used and refitted F-16 fighter jets from Israel, but eventually Israel informed Croatia it could not sell the planes as it could not secure an approval from the United States.
Israel had been in competition with several countries bidding for Zagreb’s business and its most serious competitor was reported to have been Sweden’s SAAB offering new Gripen planes.
“The government is still determined to solve (this) strategic issue. We are in talks with Sweden and the United States and we will timely inform the public once we will have some concrete information,” Krsticevic told reporters. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Reuters)
22 May 19. Turkey preparing for possible U.S. sanctions over S-400s – minister. Turkey’s defence minister said it was preparing for potential U.S. sanctions over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems, even while he said there was some improvement in talks with the United States over buying F-35 fighter jets.
Turkey and the United States have been at odds on several fronts including Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says it would jeopardise Turkey’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, which it says would be compromised by S-400s.
While Washington has warned that Ankara faced sanctions under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA) if it presses on with the deal, Turkey has said it expected U.S. President Donald Trump to protect it.
Speaking to reporters late on Tuesday, Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Turkey was fulfilling its responsibilities in the F-35 project and expected the programme to continue as planned. He said buying the S-400s was only meant to meet Turkey’s defence needs and posed no threats.
“We are doing whatever normal bilateral agreements mandate. Though there are some issues from time to time, we are pleased that there has been no sharp turn until now… Turkey is also making preparations for the potential implementation of CAATSA sanctions,” he said.
“In our talks with the United States, we see a general easing and rapprochement on issues including the east of the Euphrates, F-35s and Patriots.”
In Washington, State Department spokeswoman Morgan Ortagus said the U.S. position regarding the S-400 system had not changed.
“We’re clearly willing to engage with them and have continued to engage regarding our concerns on this acquisition, but there will be very real and very negative consequences if that happens,” she told reporters.
The Kremlin on Wednesday condemned as “unacceptable” what is called a U.S. ultimatum to Turkey to cancel the S-400 deal. A CNBC report on Tuesday said Washington had given Turkey just over two weeks to scrap the Russian deal and buy Patriots or face removal from the F-35 programme and U.S. sanctions.
The State Department declined specific comment on the CNBC report, but a department official said negative consequences to Turkey if it went ahead with the S-400 included suspension of procurement and industrial participation in the F-35 programme and sanctions under CAATSA.
The German government said Turkey’s decision to buy the S-400 system raised difficult questions for NATO and it would welcome Ankara reconsidering the decision.
Turkey’s lira has been sliding in part on concerns over the U.S. sanctions, which would hit an economy already in recession after a currency crisis last year. Among its other disputes with Washington is strategy in Syria east of the Euphrates River, where the United States is allied with Kurdish forces that Turkey views as foes.
Akar said linking the S-400s purchase with that of the F-35s is “another hurdle” and noted that nine NATO partners have a stake.
“There is no clause anywhere in the F-35 agreement saying one will be excluded from the partnership for buying S-400s,” he said. “Turkey has paid $1.2bn. We also produced the parts ordered from us on time. What more can we do as a partner?”
In trying to persuade Turkey to give up the Russian missiles, the United States has offered to sell its rival Raytheon Co. Patriot missile defence systems, which Akar said Ankara was evaluating. He said Turkish and U.S. officials were working on price, technology transfer and joint production issues on the latest U.S. offer in late March.
The minister also said conceptual work on the SAMP-T defence systems with the Franco-Italian EUROSAM consortium were expected to be completed in October. He said EUROSAM had offered to install a SAMP-T battery in Turkey and that scouting work would be carried out. (Source: Reuters)
22 May 19. RAF F-35Bs decamp to Cyprus for first overseas deployment. Key Points:
- Six RAF F-35Bs have flown to RAF Akrotiri in Cyprus
- The training mission is the type’s first overseas deployment in UK service
British Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning combat aircraft flew to the Royal Air Force (RAF) base on Cyprus on 21 May for the type’s first overseas deployment in UK service.
The contingent of six F-35Bs took off from their home base at RAF Marham in Norfolk and flew non-stop to RAF Akrotiri with support from an RAF Airbus A330 air-to-air refuelling aircraft.
According to an announcement by the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) on 21 May, the aircraft will be participating in Exercise ‘Lightning Dawn’ for six weeks. “This training exercise will allow personnel to gain vital experience in maintaining and flying the aircraft in an unfamiliar environment,” said the MoD. “The training exercise will also examine all aspects of moving this aircraft to a new location, including logistics, maintenance, and sustainment of all the equipment and crew.”
An RAF spokesman told Jane’s on 22 May that it “did not currently plan” to use the F-35s in Operation ‘Shader’ combat missions over the Middle East during their time in Cyprus, adding that the deployment was a “long-planned training exercise that is not linked to the recent tension between the US and Iran”.
A UK defence source said that if any crisis should develop in the Middle East in the near future, the RAF’s F-35Bs could be part of any UK response. “If something kicks off then the F-35Bs are good to go but the current plan is that this is just a training deployment,” the source told Jane’s. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
22 May 19. Tall Ship D-Day Voyage – 26th September to 2nd October. This is a once-in-a-lifetime opportunity to sail a tall ship on the open seas.
Each of the final crew members promises to raise £2,500 for the charity; helping those who served for their country and their families, when they are in need. This promise honours the commitment of servicemen and women from the D-Day landings to the present day.
This is a fundraising event being organised exclusively for SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity and is only available to 30 people.
No previous sailing experience necessary
£1,000 per person. Broken down into instalments of £250 if needed. This covers all your costs, so that every pound you raise goes directly to veterans and service families. Registration payment confirms your place.
Veterans and those currently serving are entitled to a bursary which brings the cost down to £350.
Corporate sponsorship available for employees who would like to take part. The ship will be docked in Central London alongside HMS Belfast for the launch. Tower bridge will be opened for the departure of the ship.
Opportunities to sponsor main sails, gangway, crew clothing and welcome home celebrations. For more details contact firstname.lastname@example.org
22 May 19. Turkey sees improvement in S-400, F-35 talks with U.S., but preparing for potential. Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said he sees an improvement in talks with the United States over the purchase of Russian S-400 defence systems and U.S. F-35 fighter jets, but added that Ankara was also preparing for potential U.S. sanctions.
Turkey and the United States are at odds over Ankara’s decision to buy the S-400s, which cannot be integrated into NATO systems. Washington says the move would jeopardise Ankara’s role in building Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets, which it says would be compromised by the S-400s.
Speaking to reporters late on Tuesday, Akar said that Turkey was fulfilling its responsibilities in the F-35 project and that Ankara expected the programme to continue as planned. He said talks with U.S. officials were still underway.
He also said Turkey was evaluating a U.S. offer to purchase the Raytheon Co. Patriot systems, adding that Ankara and Washington were working on price, technology transfer, joint production issues on the latest offer from U.S. officials. (Source: Reuters)
21 May 19. Sweden confirms UK Tempest talks, ambivalent on Franco-German FCAS. Sweden has engaged in high-level talks with the UK regarding future co-operation on the Tempest next-generation fighter programme, while any potential involvement in the Franco-German Future Combat Air System (FCAS) appears to be off the table, according to comments made by the country’s defence secretary on 21 May.
Speaking to reporters on 21 May, Peter Hultqvist, Swedish Minister for Defence, confirmed previously reported talks with the UK on including Swedish industry, specifically Saab, in the UK project to develop a manned combat aircraft for the 2030 timeframe. At the same time, he noted that he “has nothing more to say” on possible collaboration with France or Germany on the concurrent FCAS project. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
21 May 19. Airbus seeks resolution to German arms export row – CEO. Airbus is in discussions to try to find solutions to a row with the German government over a ban on arms exports to Saudi Arabia that threatens a border security contract, Chief Executive Guillaume Faury said on Tuesday.
The planemaker has warned of legal action against Germany after taking financial charges over the long-delayed border contract between Airbus’s defence unit and the Gulf kingdom.
“We are not yet there,” Faury told reporters when asked about possible legal action.
“We are very much impacted by the situation which is now being extended and trying to find different solutions,” Faury said, adding that Airbus had been forced into a corner by the unexpected national export embargo.
Germany acted alone with a ban in October after the murder of Saudi journalist Jamal Khashoggi in Istanbul, irritating other European arms exporters including France, where Airbus is based. The measure was extended in March.
The row comes as France and Germany study a new combat jet, in which Airbus is the industrial partner on the German side.
Faury said Airbus remained committed to the manned and unmanned system, adding it could be eventually opened to other nations including Britain “as a more united Europe”.
The arms row also coincides with a separate spat with Germany over 600m euros of development loans for the A380 passenger jet, which Airbus has said it will stop producing.
The Berlin government said in March it was in talks with Airbus about the outstanding loans, which also feature in a separate trade dispute about mutual claims of illegal aircraft subsidies between the European Union and the United States.
Faury said Airbus “would not be where it is” without its project to build the world’s largest airliner.
Asked at a media event whether the separate disputes with Germany could be settled in a single negotiation, Faury said “We just want to execute the contracts as they are and I will not say more.”
Airbus continues to have good relations with Germany and other founder Airbus nations, Faury said at the event, taking place as Airbus celebrates its 50th anniversary as a planemaker. (Source: Reuters)
14 May 19. Outcome of EDA Ministerial Steering Board. The European Defence Agency’s (EDA) ministerial Steering Board met this Tuesday afternoon under the chairmanship of the Head of the Agency, Federica Mogherini. Defence ministers discussed the Head of Agency’s report on the implementation of EDA’s long-term review and of the statute of the Agency agreed in 2015. They also tasked EDA to pursue its work in key research and capability development domains. In the margins of the meeting, a new military mobility programme on cross-border movement permissions was signed.
Implementation of EDA’s long-term review and the 2015 Council decision
Ministers welcomed the presentation by the Head of Agency of the report on the implementation of the conclusions and recommendations of EDA’s long term review (LTR, endorsed in May 2017) which reinforced EDA’s mission on three aspects: as the main intergovernmental prioritisation instrument at EU level in support of capability development; as the preferred cooperation forum and management support structure at EU level to engage in technology and capability development activities; and as a central operator with regard to EU funded defence-related activities and military voice in wider EU polices. In parallel to the implementation of the Council decision of 2015, the LTR adjustments allowed EDA to adapt to the fast-changing European defence landscape and the new requirements stemming from the EU defence initiatives that followed the 2016 EU Global Strategy: CARD, PESCO, European Defence Fund.
Reflecting the Head of Agency’s report, Ministers acknowledged the important support role EDA plays in the implementation of these initiatives as well as in ensuring coherence among them. They tasked the Agency to continue its coordination with the European External Action Services (EEAS including EU Military Staff), the EU Military Committee and the European Commission in their respective areas of responsibility, and to pursue coherence of output and avoidance of unnecessary duplication with NATO.
The Steering Board agreed to revert to the review of the 2015 Council decision on EDA’s statute, seat and operational rules in 2020.
Implementation of EDA’s key taskings and next steps
Ministers were also provided with a comprehensive update on the progress made in the numerous technology and capability development activities currently underway in the Agency. It shows that EDA manages a constantly growing number of projects and programmes which is set to even further increase in the future, also as a result of Member States’ request for support on PESCO projects.
Among the many research and technology domains in which EDA is active, a particular emphasis was put on Artificial intelligence (AI). In order to better understand the potential future military applications of AI, Ministers agreed on a two-step approach. The first phase will see the creation of a specific EDA cross-Directorate ad-hoc team which will develop a “AI Definition, Taxonomy and Glossary Document”, as well as increased collaboration with EU stakeholders (especially the Commission) and the launch of an Innovation Prize in the area of AI. The second step, later this year, will consist of in-depth analyses of concrete AI defence applications in areas where capability gaps exist.
Ministers also welcomed the Agency’s contribution to the identification of initial lessons related to the 2018 revision of the Capability Development Plan (CDP), the CARD Trial Run, the first PESCO projects and the Preparatory Action on Defence Research. These lessons identified should be reflected and taken into account, as appropriate, in the further development of the defence initiatives, it was stressed.
The Steering Board also asked the Agency to pursue the implementation of the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities through robust and output-driven Strategic Context Cases (SCCs). EDA was asked to present to Capability Directors in June 2019 for endorsement the landscaping part of the SCCs, including their avenues of approach to tackle the capability shortfalls and lack of coherence in the European defence landscape, in order to inform the further implementation of the EU defence initiatives. The Agency was also invited to present to the Steering Board in February 2020 detailed roadmaps with objectives and milestones for those activities that, subject to the necessary ad-hoc decisions by Member States, could be taken forward in the Agency framework. (Source: EDA)
20 May 19. Poland Acquires F-35. Harpia Programme Divided in Half. Polish Vice-Minister of Defence Wojciech Skurkiewicz announced that the first squadron of 16 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighters will be acquired during the current planning period, while a second squadron would be procured after 2026. Even though this solution has some advantages, it also entails some risk, as acquisition constitutes only about 30% of total lifecycle costs, so the total cost of ownership could be three times higher than the procurement cost.
Skurkiewicz made his statement during a heated debate in parliament, when MP Joanna Kluzik-Rostkowska, queried the combat effectiveness of the air force, whose MiG-29 jets have recently been grounded several times due to the accidents. According to the Polish Press Agency, Kluzik-Rostkowska also suggested that only 40% of the Polish F-16s are ready to use. Responding to the questions, Skurkiewicz said that the decision to extend the MiG-29’s service life for another decade was made back in 2011. Mariusz Błaszczak, head of the MoD, recently decided to instead accelerate the Harpia program, whose goal is to replace the Soviet-era aircraft. However, the most important quote pertained to implementation of the Harpia programme itself.
“For implementation of the Harpia programme, we are buying 5th generation aircraft. This is a breakthrough decision that will entirely change the Air Force’s operational capabilities. The first F-35 squadron would be procured during the current planning period, which covers modernization until 2026. The second squadron would be procured after 2026,” Wojciech Skurkiewicz, Secretary of State at the Polish Ministry of Defence, told Parliament.
This means that, at least until the new Technical Modernization Plan is adopted, the MoD can acquire a single squadron – such is the Harpia programme budget. It should be strongly emphasized that the above does not exclude asking the US to launch acquisition of two squadrons in line with the FMS procedure, as LOA intergovernmental documents can be signed with regards to a certain portion of the equipment to be acquired.
At the same time, there is no doubt that all MiG-29 and Su-22 airframes should be replaced. Considering the cost of the F-35 and of the infrastructure investments it requires, a question arises: would it not be better to place the Harpia programme outside the PMT planning document, as proposed by Andrzej Duda, the Polish President? This would obviously require additional legislation and extra expenditure. In exchange, Warsaw would be able to stretch the acquisition across a longer timeline, as the MoD plans, with an ability to place the order concerning all 32 aircraft at once which eliminates division of the deal into smaller pieces. Harpia funds earmarked until 2026 could then be used to acquire another F-16 squadron and to expand the operational capabilities offered by the existing fleet (modernization and reinforcement of the maintenance schemes that would render a higher availability of the airframes).
It is probable that new F-16Vs would achieve combat-ready status much quicker than the F-35, thus acting as an asset that could lift off some of the operational burden from the Harpia jets. Contrary to the F-35, the F-16V is available as a twin-seater variant with some of the systems derived from the F-35 directly, which would make it easier for the pilots to transition from the Soviet aircraft to the new airframes.
Notably, the new generation MRCA should be treated as an element of a wider combat system. That element shall be fused with the F-16s that Poland owns, the ground-based air-defence assets, long range artillery or the electronic warfare elements. The drive towards accelerated replacement of Fulcrums and Fitters is necessary, but it should not overshadow the other requirements, including the ones concerning the reconnaissance, C2 or anti-tank defence projects. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Defense24 Poland)
20 May 19. Germany’s long-awaited antimissile program is about to face politics. The German government expects to receive a long-awaited industry offer for revamping the country’s missile defenses next month, just as the debate in Germany over defense spending kicks into high gear once again. The proposal by contractors Lockheed Martin and MBDA Germany for the TLVS program, short for Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem, will roughly coincide with the Cabinet’s final deliberations on a 2020 budget pitch to lawmakers. Clocking in at an estimated €8bn, or $8.93bn, the program is sure to face intense scrutiny once the Bundestag gets wind of the details.
Defense officials have gone to great lengths to say as little as possible about what’s in store. They have dismissed the notion that the industry offer is late, arguing that a few extra weeks or months of prep time at the outset would help harden the proposal against problems later on.
Behind the scenes, however, government and industry officials have begun putting together a narrative for justifying a price tag billions of euros above expectations several years ago.
To be sure, there is no official word yet on how much TLVS is going to cost, and it’s unclear how forthcoming the government will be once the final offer is in. The latest figure of €8bn stems from remarks by a high-ranking defense ministry official who spoke at a closed-door meeting of the Bundestag’s defense committee in February.
A government spokesman would only say that the Lockheed-MBDA proposal is expected in the “first half of the year,” to be followed by an internal government analysis and contract negotiations with the vendor consortium. The plan is to forward a program plan and cost estimates to parliament for debate in late 2019 or early 2020.
Lockheed Martin and MBDA are expected to pitch a program that they argue bears little resemblance to the features of its predecessor, the Medium Extended Air Defense System, or MEADS. On the table is a six- to seven-year development stage, including some initial production of equipment so that German authorities can run tests on new hardware.
One of the key cost drivers lies in preparing the system to one day defend against hypersonic missiles, which means threats flying faster than five times the speed of sound. The feature is in response to German requirements and keeping an eye on Russian developmental weaponry.
Analysts are only now beginning to assess the full extent of hypersonic defense requirements. But it seems likely that a new generation of interceptors more powerful than the envisioned TLVS house ammo, the Lockheed-made MSE missiles, eventually will be needed.
In addition, German officials have pushed to have the entire system under their national control, including the so-called exciter for the fire-control radar. That piece of hardware, a 4 feet by 2.5 feet- sized box, is dubbed the brains of the weapon because it performs all flight-path computations needed to obliterate incoming missiles. The exciter was going to remain a Lockheed Martin-controlled ingredient until German defense officials pushed for a local version, a task that will fall to Hensoldt in the forthcoming offer.
Contributing to the German industry footprint – designed to trumpet a domestic bent and spread the parliamentary love across more districts – is the integration of the so-called IRIS-T SL interceptor made by Diehl Defence. That effort, in turn, comes with the integration of the SAMOC guidance system, made by European defense powerhouse Airbus.
Program advocates still have hope to interest other governments in Europe in the envisioned technology. For example, there is the question of rekindling an old MEADS alliance with Italy.
Italian military commanders are keenly interested in the idea of re-entering the program, although that interest has yet to be shared by politicians, an Italian defense source told Defense News.
“The interest is there at the military level, not the political level,” said the Italian source, who like others in this article declined to be named while discussing sensitive deliberations.
That could prove a stumbling block to Italy’s possible return to a program that Italy was an original member of before the United States decided to quit in 2011.
Since taking office last year, Italy’s populist government has already cut its investment in the European CAMM-ER missile program, and may struggle to meet ongoing funding commitments this year as the country’s economy dips and it seeks cash for welfare programs.
Political pitfalls also await in Germany. News earlier this year that Berlin could fall behind its NATO spending commitments fueled speculation that certain programs would have to be cut and that officials had begun compiling lists of programs deemed more important than others.
In addition, the fate of the CDU-SPD coalition government at the time when TLVS is up for votes early next year is uncertain. While the CDU probably will be supportive, the SPD appears to be hedging its bets as operatives await details from the defense ministry on the way ahead. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
20 May 19. Former Polish defense minister presses for answers on fate of US Patriot buy. Former Polish defense minister Tomasz Siemoniak is pressing the government for answers on the fate of its plans to buy the Patriot air-and-missile defense system from the United States.
While the contract to deliver the first two Raytheon-made Patriot batteries is a done deal and being executed, questions have surfaced about whether the Polish government intends to fund plans to procure a total of eight batteries, which was supposed to go under contract in a second phase.
Reports from Polish news outlets indicate that the second phase of the Wisla program — the name for the Patriot acquisition in Poland — might not be funded, at least not until after 2026.
The government approved a new 10-year spending plan from 2017 through 2026, keeping it classified, but details have leaked that Wisla Phase 2 is not included in that plan, according to reports.
A spending plan review is expected in 2022, and it’s unclear whether the funding to cover the remaining six Patriot batteries will be included as well as Poland’s plans for a short-range air defense system — the Narew program.
In an “interpellation” sent to the current defense minister, Mariusz Blasczak, in early May — but not posted on the Polish government’s website until March 13 — Siemoniak, who is serving as a member of parliament, said, according to a translation, that the Ministry of National Defense had not taken any steps to sign a contract for the second phase. He demanded answers on whether the newly approved defense spending plan, in fact, contained funding for it.
An interpellation is an official point of inquiry that a member of parliament can make to a government minister of which the minister is required respond publicly, except when answers must be kept classified due to reasons of national security.
Siemoniak said if the government did not include plans to fund the second phase of the Wisla program, he wanted to know why and whether that meant a full cancellation of the second phase or just a delay past 2026.
He also noted that during the second phase of the program, Polish radars developed by PIT-RADWAR SA — part of the government-owned Polish Armaments Group — would be integrated into Patriot as well as a Northrop Grumman-made command and control system, dubbed the Integrated Battle Command System (IBCS).
Siemoniak asked if there were plans to integrate those radars sooner than 2026, if there is no funding for Wisla Phase II inside of the 10-year plan.
Yet, if the Polish government does have plans to fund the second phase, Siemoniak wants to know whether those funds would cover the second phase in its entirety or just in part.
The Wisla program has experienced minor and major hiccups from the very beginning. The government made moves to rapidly acquire a missile defense system shortly after Russia annexed Crimea in 2014.
There were many times where those following the possible procurement thought it would fall through. Poland first selected Patriot in 2014, but with a change in government, the new president wanted to take another look at the options available for a medium-range system.
The government ultimately settled on Patriot, but caught industry off guard when it said it wanted to incorporate Northrop’s IBCS that is in development to be the command-and-control system for the U.S. Army’s future integrated air-and-missile defense system. IBCS’ initial operational capability is delayed, but Northrop has a way to offer a version of the system for Poland’s Patriots sooner. And a Yockey waiver, which is needed to sell components that have yet to complete Pentagon testing, was granted for Poland to procure the system ahead of the U.S. Army. The Poles also wanted 360-degree detection capability, which the current Patriot lacks. Poland plans to procure 360-degree radars for the Wisla program later. The U.S. Army is also working toward the procurement of a new radar for its IAMD, but the service may be stepping back from requiring the sensor have 360-degree detection capability.
The country also slowed the procurement process to go through painstaking offset negotiations to ensure those met legal requirements as well as goals the government had set for the program. The country wanted at least 50 percent domestic industrial participation.
But after years of laboring over details, Poland signed a letter of offer and acceptance in March 2018 with the U.S. government to buy Patriot. The LOA, however, only covers the first two Patriot Configuration 3+ batteries, the latest version of the system, as well as IBCS and the Lockheed Martin-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles.
Delivery is expected in 2022.
One of the more major areas of concern when it comes to a possible delay or outright cancellation of the second phase of the Wisla program is that some major capabilities were planned to be implemented during that time to include more robust participation from Polish industry.
And, according to Raytheon, the subsequent phase beyond the first two batteries would include the acquisition of additional Patriot fire units, gallium nitride-based, 360-degree active electronically scanned array radar and a low-cost interceptor missile called SkyCeptor. (Source: Defense News)
20 May 19. UK defence industry calls for clarity on ‘buy British’ policy. Business says it has heard it all before after Penny Mordaunt’s call to boost domestic industry. Penny Mordaunt went back to basics in her maiden speech as UK defence secretary last week. She evoked the spirit of former Conservative prime minister Margaret Thatcher and promised defence would sit at the heart of “the prosperity agenda”. She urged the armed forces to “buy British”. “What’s needed is a closer partnership with industry that gives [it] confidence to invest and build,” she said. The message was welcomed in boardrooms, but executives cautioned they had heard it before: the industry’s relationship with the Ministry of Defence is littered with examples of cost overruns, ever-changing requirements and a lack of funding. Critics of government policy also argue that procurement is not always consistent and lacks a comprehensive approach that clearly identifies the main goals. With Brexit looming it is crucial to foster a reliable industrial base and send a message to Britain’s allies “about what they can rely on us for”, business leaders say. “We don’t have the money and we are poor at prioritising,” said one former industry executive. The RAF has deployed the Texan T1 aircraft as part of its F-35 pilot training programme There have been numerous reviews of Britain’s defence and security.
The last overarching defence industrial strategy was launched almost 15 years ago in 2005, by Paul Drayson, now Lord Drayson, the entrepreneur who became minister for defence procurement under Labour. Paul Everitt, chief executive of ADS, the UK aerospace and defence body, said the government needed to be clearer on those things it believed were of strategic importance to the UK. There is “an acknowledgment of the need to prioritise UK prosperity and support UK research and development, as well as small and medium-sized enterprises”, he said, but the reality was that “the Treasury continues to have concerns about the cost of defence”. Unions argue too little consideration is given to the economic impact of defence work and the importance of maintaining highly skilled engineering jobs. They say the industry, which had a turnover of about £23bn in 2016 and directly supported 142,000 jobs, should be given proper consideration in the government’s industrial strategy.
“The only joined up bit [within government] is the pressure from the Treasury,” said Ross Murdoch, national officer at the GMB union. Lord Drayson’s strategy set out for the first time to identify which industrial capabilities the UK should retain. It promoted long-term planning between government and companies on big programmes to secure jobs skills while reining in costs. But while his strategy was welcomed by industry, there were concerns it lacked the funding to underpin it. In 2017 the government “refreshed” its defence industrial policy. Gavin Williamson, the then defence secretary, also set out specific strategies for shipbuilding and combat aircraft underpinned by specific funding. But they are undermined, critics say, by a lack of consistency at project level and concerns over long-term affordability. Shipbuilding is a case in point. Launched in September 2017, plans set out to preserve jobs and boost regional economies. But 20 months after it was launched, no new construction orders have been placed. A £1bn competition to build three new Royal Navy support vessels is under fire for being put out to international competition — in contrast to other countries, such as France, that have kept similar projects at home. Penny Mordaunt: ‘What’s needed is a closer partnership with industry that gives [it] confidence to invest and build’ © Getty Last week, Ms Mordaunt refused to say whether the contract would be awarded to the UK-led consortium in the competition. On combat aircraft, the government last July announced it would invest more than £2bn alongside industry to help develop a sixth-generation fighter jet, dubbed Tempest. The programme is seen as critical if Britain is to retain key industrial capabilities.
Although Britain has a role in today’s F-35 fighter jet programme — BAE Systems holds a 15 per cent stake and makes the rear fuselage section in Lancashire — it is led by America’s Lockheed Martin. If Tempest is to succeed the UK will need international partners to help develop what will cost many times the original £2bn commitment. The strategy is not all-encompassing; it does not cover other vital equipment like trainer aircraft. The MoD has also come under fire when it has opted to purchase US equipment, sometimes without a competition. In March it agreed to purchase E-7 Wedgetail radar aircraft from America’s Boeing to replace the Royal Air Force’s fleet of ageing surveillance aircraft Trevor Taylor, an analyst with the defence think-tank the Royal United Services Institute, said compromises in procurement were inevitable because of conflicting pressures on the defence sector. The close relationship with the US, which brings a desire to buy from America, conflicts with the desire to help the domestic industry. The result, he said, was that “there is no real coherent message in terms of strategy”. Any strategy, said several defence experts, should be based on a determination of national “must-have capabilities” and competitive advantage. Francis Tusa, editor of the newsletter Defence Analysis, said a new strategy would require “a massive change in approach”. Recommended UK defence spending Big shipbuilders pull out of £1bn MoD support-vessel shortlist “The position today is that everything built in Britain is more expensive. That is simply not true.” The UK’s equipment plan is already well over budget; the National Audit Office said the defence ministry’s £180bn equipment plan faced a funding gap of up to £15bn over the next decade. Defence spending as a proportion of GDP has fallen from 4.4 per cent in the late 1980s to about 2 per cent during the past eight years. Mr Williamson won an extra £1bn for his ministry in last autumn’s Budget but Ms Mordaunt will need to squeeze more money out of chancellor Philip Hammond in the comprehensive spending review this year to fund current equipment plans. Vice Admiral Nick Hine, the Royal Navy’s second sea lord and a former defence policy adviser to the Treasury, said Ms Mordaunt would have to decide where to strike the balance between protecting and encouraging sovereign capabilities while taking advantage of global markets which help reduce costs.
“It’s good in some areas, while it’s a route to the bottom in others,” he said. One of the reasons given by people who want the government to carry on handing out single-source, equipment development contracts to UK-based defence contractors is that an indigenous, engineering design, development, systems integration, prototyping and testing capability will be cultivated and maintained in-country, in perpetuity. But the fact of the matter is that the defence sector in the UK has already lost such a capability. This is because the last several decades has seen the wholesale transfer of people in the pay of the State to the private sector via the ‘revolving door’, in particular, defence equipment manufacturers’ organisations, largely due to the resounding success of the policy instituted by Defence Secretaries of all political persuasions – to encourage for-profit organisations in receipt of government defence contracts to take-on people, who were previously in the pay of the State. This mass migration would explain why the workforce, including senior management within defence contractors’ organisations (right across the full spectrum of defence engineering businesses and government outsourcing contractors, large and small) is now made-up entirely of people who were previously in the pay of the State. Whereas this targeted action has done much to alleviate the problem of high joblessness among those who had completed their terms as public servants, it has only served to deprive defence contractors of the ability to design & develop new military equipment, to a user-specified technical specification requirement. This is due to the fact that those who have come across from the public sector, in their middle-age, have no experience whatsoever of advancing the developmental status of the starting-point for a technical solution from its existing condition, to a point where it will satisfy the qualitative and quantitative requirements expressed in the technical specification requirement – not least, because they were never required to do so, during the first part of their career. In reality, such expertise is the sole preserve of people who were inducted into the private sector at an early age, where they forged their design & development skills within the crucible of a competitive market environment and a setting driven by the profit motive. It also required, as a minimum, an adequate understanding of what it takes (in terms of skill types, funding, tools, processes, materials, scheduled work plan, inter-business contractual agreements etc.) to advance an immature technical solution from its existing condition. Consequently, these types of people are to be found exclusively in the non-defence, engineering sector of the UK economy today. The most important feature of any business that calls itself an engineering company is the existence of an in-house design, development, systems integration, prototyping and testing as a core capability.
By employing only people who were previously in the pay of the State, UK-based defence contractors have inadvertently denied themselves this capability – which has ironically, left them at risk of being usurped and displaced by real engineering companies from adjacent sectors or outside the UK, who have made it their foremost priority to invest in such a foundational capability. The complete absence of any new patents, IP rights or innovative products put forward by UK-based defence contractors is yet another indication of the paucity of such a capability. It would also explain, in part, the persistent instances of delays and cost overruns on equipment development programmes – brought about by contractors not possessing suitably qualified and experienced engineers on their payroll, right at the start of a contract. So, it comes as no surprise that the UK government has switched over to buying off-the-shelf military equipment (because it does not require any development work to be performed upon it), after belatedly recognising this shortcoming in the domestic defence industry. (Source: FT.com)
20 May 19. UK-led maritime force deploys to the Baltic Sea. Royal Navy flagship HMS Albion deploys to the Baltic Sea today to lead a multinational task group in support of European security. Thousands of UK armed forces personnel will take part in the first UK-led Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) maritime deployment. HMS Albion carries the joint staff who will command the deployment – codenamed Baltic Protector – drawn from the Plymouth-based headquarters of 3 Commando Brigade Royal Marines and the staff of the Commander of the Amphibious Task Group.
It marks the first deployment of the military force which comprises of nine nations including the UK, Denmark, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Norway and Sweden. At its peak a total of 3,850 sailors, marines, soldiers, and airmen will take part in the deployment along with more than 17 naval vessels in the Baltic region.
Captain Peter Laughton, the Commanding Officer of HMS Albion, said: “I am really proud of the work my team has completed to prepare HMS Albion for this unique and exciting deployment.
“This represents the largest UK-led operational deployment of a military force in Europe for decades and demonstrates our ability to react quickly and decisively to any crisis in the world.”
The first phase of Baltic Protector is an exercise in the western Baltic and eastern North Sea, before the task group joins the US-led Exercise Baltops.
Here the group will link up with other multinational and allied formations such as the Standing NATO Maritime Group 1, which currently includes Royal Navy frigate HMS Westminster.
The amphibious task group will also meet up with the US 2nd Fleet and mine countermeasures vessels from Lithuania, Latvia, Poland and Estonia.
For the final phase of the deployment, the task group will focus on amphibious operations within the eastern Baltic, where the ships and landing forces will conduct a series of raids. (Source: U.K. MoD)
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