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01 Jul 19. Turkey’s Erdogan says S-400 systems will be delivered within 10 days: NTV. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said the first delivery of the Russian S-400 missile defense system would take place within 10 days, broadcaster NTV reported on Sunday, a day after he said there would be no U.S. sanctions over the deal. Turkey and the United States, NATO allies, have been at odds over Ankara’s decision to purchase the S-400s, with Washington warning of U.S. sanctions if the delivery took place. Turkey has dismissed the warnings, saying it would not back down.
The United States says the S-400s will compromise its Lockheed Martin Corp F-35 fighter jets, of which Turkey is a producer and buyer. Washington has also formally started the process of expelling Turkey from the F-35 program, halting the training of Turkish pilots in the United States.
But on Saturday, Erdogan said U.S. President Donald Trump had told him there would be no sanctions over the Russian deal, after Trump said Turkey had been treated unfairly over the move.
The White House said Trump “expressed concern” over the S-400 deal and “encouraged Turkey to work with the United States on defense cooperation in a way that strengthens the NATO alliance.”
Speaking to reporters after the G20 summit in Japan, where he held bilateral talks with Trump, Erdogan said he believed the dispute over the S-400s would be overcome “without a problem” and added that his U.S. counterpart supported Turkey in the dispute.
“In our phone calls, when we come together bilaterally, Mr Trump has not said so far: ‘We will impose these sanctions.’ On the S-400s, he said to me: ‘You are right.’ We carried this issue to a very advanced level,” Erdogan said, according to NTV.
“At this advanced level, Trump said: ‘This is injustice’. This is very important. I believe that we will overcome this process without any problems,” Erdogan added.
He said the two leaders had agreed to delegate officials to follow the issue. He also said Turkish and U.S. foreign and defense ministers would “open the doors” to resolving the matter.
In an effort to sway Turkey, the United States has offered to supply it with Raytheon Co Patriot missiles.
28 June 19. Spain Prepares An Initial Investment of €110m in FCAS. Spanish Minister of Defense Margarita Robles said last week at the Paris Air Show, after signing the MoU allowing Spain to join the French-German Future Combat Air System (FCAS), that Spain will take a 33% percent stake in the initial project, InfoDefensa reported June 27 from Madrid. This implies an initial investment initial of €110m euros, she said. The sum represents Spain’s share of the program’s conceptual study, which will conclude by the end of 2020, and the start of the demonstrator phase, and will be added to the €220m already committed by France and Germany.
To date, France and Germany have already authorized funding of €65m for the concept study contract which was due to be signed at the Paris Air Show but which will now be formalized in September. Industry, however, has been working on the study since February.
“If Spain wants to be in the same conditions, it will have to invest 110m euros,” InfoDefensa reported quoting unidentified sources, bringing the total earmark to €330m for the three countries.
France is already working on its own analysis under a bridging contract worth €10m euros. “The remaining €155m, once the current study’s €65m cost is subtracted, will be used to fund five specific studies: engine, fighter, system of systems, simulation environment and remote carriers,” InfoDefensa added.
Spanish funding must be approved by the Council of Ministers, which is expected to approve a ceiling, and the initial investment of €110m euros, which will open the doors to FCAS industrial participation.
“This step is key to the real entry of Spain into the project. As our participation is not yet defined, we do not have access to all the information. The agreement signed at the show is one step forward, but now we must by contract,” InfoDefensa said.
27 June 19. High Tempo At Trendwende: Tailwind for Bundeswehr modernization. The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag has released more than €1bn this week for various armament projects. These include MARS II guided artillery rockets for the Very High Readiness Joint Task Force (VJTF) by 2023; improvements to the Puma armored infantry fighting vehicle, notably to improve cooperation with dismounted forces are also to be realized by 2023; investment in the new SARah satellite reconnaissance system; modernization of the Patriot air defense system, and procurement of a new version of the Luna reconnaissance drone. In addition, three new aircraft are to be bought for flight readiness.
Satellite reconnaissance for Bundeswehr
The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag has today released 116m euros for changes in the Synthetic Aperture Radar (SARah) radar satellite reconnaissance system. Among other things, the additional funds will be used for cyber security for satellites, other security technologies and new crypto requirements of the Federal Office for Information Technology Protection. SARah is a satellite system with two reflector satellites, a phased array satellite, a ground station in Germany and antennas in Germany and Sweden. The system can provide, by day and night and under adverse weather conditions, world-wide imagery data. Among other things, SARah can provide information for early crisis detection, crisis management and humanitarian aid, as well as in assessing proliferation activities, verification of arms control and disarmament agreements, and last but not least, the deployment of armed forces and the fight against terrorism.
— Smooth transition
The SARah reconnaissance system will replace in 2022 the radar-based and previously used SAR-Lupe satellite system. The amending agreement now approved by the Budget Committee is a so-called “25 m bill” submitted by the Federal Ministry of Defense.
Medium-range aircraft for the Ministry of Defense
At the end of this year, three Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft are to be purchased. A total of around 240 m euros are earmarked to reinforce the medium-range during the flight readiness.
The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag today approved the purchase of three Bombardier Global 6000 aircraft for the German Defence Ministry, with a total budget of up to 240m euros. The aircraft should be ready by the end of 2019.
— Already in use by the end of the year
With these brand-new aircraft, the medium-range aviation capabilities of the Federal Ministry of Defense are strengthened. The aircraft should be able to begin service by the end of 2019. The new aircraft will also be equipped with a self-protection system and extended communication options. The Bombardier Global 6000 can fly to distances of up to 11,000km.
— Diverse tasks
The range of missions for the aircraft is broad and goes beyond the transport of persons from the political and parliamentary sphere. The Global 6000 are also available for the military air transport of casualties and sick as well as for crisis management. In addition to the aircraft themselves, the 240m euro budget includes the associated protection systems, communication equipment, training services for personnel and spare parts.
— Lower expense
The aircraft model adapts with great synergy effects in the existing fleet of the aviation readiness of the BMVg Federal Ministry of Defense. As a result, the effort in operation, for example, in training, logistics and maintenance and repair, the aircraft is minimized. With a highly unified fleet of Global 5000 and Global 6000 mid-range aircraft, the BMVg Federal Ministry of Defense’s aviation readiness will be more flexible and more responsive to unpredictable events.
Since the aircraft are not used solely by the German Armed Forces and the Federal Ministry of Defense, but are available for the transport of government members, the purchase is financed through section 60 of the federal budget. Under this section, all incoming and outgoing expenses are not allocated to a single department or concern the federal government as a whole.
Modernization: Procurement of components for Patriot
Investments secure the ground-based airspace defense capabilities. The Bundeswehr is procuring components for the Patriot weapon system for around 120m euros.
Today, the Budget Committee has approved a “25m bill” submitted by the Federal Ministry of Defense (BMVg Federal Ministry of Defense) with a total financing volume of around 120 m euros.
— Still suitable even after 2030
The Patriot weapon system will serve for ground-based air defense until at least 2030. Now it is being prepared for the coming years. With the bill now approved by the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag, around 120m euros will be invested in preserving Patriot’s operational readiness. With this, the air defense capabilities of the weapon system can be maintained. Specifically, 14 digital radar processors, six modern operator stations for the command posts and spare parts are to be purchased. Technical support will also be provided to retrofit the Patriot with new equipment. The modernized systems should arrive with the troops by 2022.
— Proven system
The Patriots are used for air defense and can also intercept short-range ballistic missiles. As a result, for example, they can protect buildings or small areas. From the end of 2012 to the end of 2015, German Patriot systems were stationed in Turkey. Their use on Operation Active Fence Turkey protected three bordering Turkish cities from possible air attacks during the Syrian civil war. By the end of the 20s, a new tactical air defense system is to be introduced. It will provide comprehensive protection against all airborne threats in future missions, representing a significant leap in capability over today’s systems. Until then, the modernized Patriot system will continue to serve and provide adequate protection.
Next generation Luna program begins
The Bundeswehr intends to acquire another nine Luna reconnaissance systems for around 130m euros. The Luna Next Generation will replace the Bundeswehr’s small unmanned aircraft for target location. The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag today released about 130 m euros for the purchase of nine reconnaissance systems of the type Luna Next Generation / Bundeswehr (Luna NG / B). So far, three of these tactical systems and a training system have already been ordered by the Bundeswehr. The first system should enter service by the end of 2019. This begins the mission-oriented equipment of the troop with the unmanned aerial vehicles.
— More than just an aircraft
The Luna NG / B is an unmanned medium-range airborne reconnaissance vehicle. With a radius of about 100 kilometers, the Luna improves the retrieval of tactical information. Good reconnaissance results contribute significantly to the success of military operations. The Luna NG / B replaces the small aircraft targeting that are currently used for this purpose.
A Luna NG / B system includes five unmanned aerial vehicles with electro-optical and infrared sensors, two ground control stations and associated communications in protected functional containers, two telemetry antennas on trailers, workshop equipment integrated into a protected container and a spare parts package.
Each system in the standard configuration includes two take-off and landing devices. The technical documentation and training aids are also included in the scope of delivery of a system.
— Continuous improvement
In its basic configuration, the Luna NG / B aircraft is launched by catapult. The landing takes place with a parachute or with a safety net. But there is not always enough space for a safety net or the landing by parachute available. Therefore, the manufacturer has developed a system for vertical takeoffs and landings for the aircraft type. In order for the Luna NG / B to gai this new capability, the system still has to pass extensive testing by the Bundeswehr. This capability will then be integrated into the Lunas at no extra cost.
Firepower and networking: Puma infantry fighting vehicle will be improved
For a total of about 730 m euros, the armored infantry vehicle Puma will be greatly improved. As a result, the VJTF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023 will gain a large capability increase. Networking of vehicle and crew increases combat power.
For investment in the armoured infantry (Panzergrenadiertruppe) and the armored infantry fighting vehicle Puma, the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag has today released a total of more than 700m euros. Four years after its introduction, the Puma is to undergo extensive improvements, including improved networking between the vehicle and the crew. Improved and extended Puma and Panzergrenadier capabilities for the VJTF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023 will be the result.
— Better visibility
If you see better, you aim better and meet sooner. Therefore, the armored infantry vehicles Puma also receive visibility improvements. Additional camera systems will be installed on the vehicle, and the systems will become color-capable. Overall, the field of view is increased. This also applies under tactical conditions when the hatches are closed.
The mobility of the vehicle will increase, and the transported Panzergrenadiers will have a better view of the environment and possible opponents; especially, the immediate proximity of the vehicle will then be fully observed.
— Networking brings added value
Networking in action between the Puma infantry fighting vehicle and the dismounted Panzergrenadier rifle squad will be achieved with the extended “Infantryman of the Future” (IdZ-ES) system.
For the first time, the crew and the dismounted squad will receive an equal, comprehensive and up-to-date picture of the situation. Even the exchange of large amounts of data is possible. This networking enables faster action, increases protection and mobility, a decisive advantage in combat. Both the components IdZ-ES and the Puma will be improved.
— Higher firepower
In the Puma, the weapon system “multi-role light guided missile system” is scaffolded. Hardware and software components of the infantryman of the future will be adapted and a uniform management information system will be established. Modern radios complete the upgrade. Altogether, 41 Puma infantry fighting vehicles and ten so-called IdZ-ES soldier systems will be upgraded early on. For the Panzer Grenadiers armored infantry, with their Pumas deployed in the VJTF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023, this means a significant qualitative improvement of their abilities.
Rockets for the VJTF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023
The VJTF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023 will buy 900 guided missiles. The Budget Committee has released about 150 m euros for this purpose. The Budget Committee of the German Bundestag has today provided €148m for the purchase of 900 Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (GMLRS Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System) guided missiles with unitary warheads. The missiles will be delivered by 2022 and will be available for the VJTF Very High Readiness Joint Task Force 2023. The delivery complements a procurement from the year 2017, which will be delivered this year. The GPS-guided GMLRS Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System primarily targets point and individual targets at distances between 15 and 75 kilometers. Because of its high-accuracy, in all weather conditions, collateral damage can be avoided. The unitary warhead penetrates into the target and then explodes. The missile can also be used against area targets. The guided missiles are regularly inspected to ensure operational readiness. These artillery rockets have a shelf life of up to 25 years.
The procurement of the GMLRS Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System with unitary warhead is a so-called “25m bill” submitted by the Federal Ministry of Defense. These projects, with a financial cost of at least 25m euros, require the separate approval of the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag. All of these projects are already earmarked and approved in the federal budget. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/German Ministry of Defence)
28 Jun 19. Thales welcomes Franco-Belgian agreement on CaMo and award of armoured vehicle contract. As part of a strategic partnership between Belgium and France, the government-to-government agreement on the CaMo (Capacité Motorisée) project has now come into effect and the contract for the procurement of armoured vehicles for the Belgian forces has been awarded. The cooperation agreement between the French and Belgian governments in the area of land mobility came into effect on 21 June 2019.
This milestone sets the official seal of approval on the strategic cooperation agreement behind yesterday’s award by the French defence procurement agency (DGA) of the CaMo contract to French industry. Under the contract, the Belgian Army will take delivery, between 2025 and 2030, of 382 Griffon multi-role armoured vehicles and 60 Jaguar data-driven reconnaissance and combat vehicles. These vehicles will be equipped to the specifications of France’s Scorpion programme and will be fully compatible with the equivalent French vehicles.
The Belgian and French land forces will conduct an initial joint training exercise in Belgium in September 2019 to test command procedures.
CaMo is a strategic partnership between the land components of the French and Belgian armed forces and provides a tangible example of steps being taken to build an operational European defence community. The partnership could be expanded under permanent structured cooperation arrangements.
26 June 19. Lockheed braces for German blowback over cost of missile-defense pitch. Lockheed Martin executives are preparing for a stiff debate in Germany about the price tag of a next-generation anti-missile system formally proposed to Berlin just days ago.
“I think the price will be a challenge, and we’ll have to negotiate to come to an agreement,” Frank St. John, executive vice president of the company’s Missiles and Fire Control business, told Defense News in an interview at the Paris Air Show last week. “But we’re going to do better than the early expectations of the price.”
That is a reference to a figure that surfaced during the spring following testimony of a senior German defense official before parliament. At the time, the cost estimate for the TLVS program, short for Taktisches Luftverteidigungssystem, was €8bn (U.S. $9bn).
St. John declined to name the price ultimately included by Lockheed Martin and its German partner MBDA in their June 21 proposal. But he suggested the figure would lie significantly enough below the €8m mark to be considered more than cosmetic.
“I still anticipate a healthy debate and discussion about the pricing and the scope of the program through the negotiation process,” he said.
Negotiations are expected to begin as soon as the German Defence Ministry has analyzed the proposal, described by German officials as being thousands of pages long. If the government and Lockheed Martin come to an agreement, the proposed investment would go before lawmakers for a decision, probably late this year or early next year.
German plans for the TLVS program are based on the Medium Extended Air Defense System, conceived about 10 years ago as a replacement for the Patriot fleets of the United States, Germany and Italy. Soldiers had criticized the decades-old Patriot system as too cumbersome to deploy and maintain in the field.
Germany has stuck with MEADS even after the United States and Italy dropped off, with officials in Berlin arguing the prospect of developing a truly novel defensive weapon was worth the gamble of going it alone.
Defense officials in Germany have since added new requirements. For one, Berlin wants full control over all components, as opposed to buying an American weapon whose inner workings are shrouded in secrecy. In addition, the German government wants to be able to shoot down what officials call “advanced threats” (code for hypersonic missiles, such as those developed by Russia).
According to St. John, Lockheed’s latest TLVS proposal comes with the promise of intercepting such threats, though probably not the most sophisticated ones. “And then there is a provision in the contract and in the design of the system to add capability as time goes by and as the threat evolves,” he said.
One of the sticking points for the proposed program — German access to secret performance data of the weapon’s principal interceptor, the so-called MSE missile — appears to have been resolved, St. John said. Until late last year, Berlin was unhappy with U.S. Army restrictions placed on the information, which Germany considers crucial for adapting the system to its needs.
Senior Pentagon leaders intervened to help resolve the logjam after Defense News reported on the issue in December 2018.
“We believe that we have coordinated that with the Department of State and the appropriate folks at the Department of Defense, and that the German customer is going to have access to the data they need to evaluate the system,” St. John said. “They’ll also have access to the data they need to recommend future modifications. We think that issue is resolved now.”
At the same time, he added, another round of approvals will be needed from the U.S. government as contract negotiations with Germany progress. “We’ll have to go back one more time … to verify that everything is still in a good place.”
Patriot-maker Raytheon issued a statement Monday reiterating its readiness to snatch the missile-defense contract from arch enemy Lockheed Martin if the TLVS program goes south. The company especially played up the option of connecting an upgraded Patriot system to a lower-tier system, made by Rheinmetall, to defend against drones and artillery rounds.
Ralph Acaba, president of Raytheon’s Integrated Defense Systems business, said his company is increasingly banking on a layered air defense concept in which different systems — perhaps owned by different countries — take on various threat types. “No single nation, no single system can do it all when it comes to missile defense,” he told Defense News at the Paris Air Show.
According to Joseph de Antona, vice president for business development and strategy in Acaba’s division, Raytheon does not consider Lockheed’s TLVS bid a threat to Patriot sales. “If a country makes a decision, it’s our responsibility to honor and recognize that,” he said. At the same time, he added, Raytheon plans to continue to advise the German government on new threats and how to counter them.
The company is “absolutely” still talking to the Berlin government to that effect, de Antona told Defense News.
German lawmakers on the Defence and Budget committees on Wednesday approved roughly €120m to upgrade the country’s Patriot fleet to the newest configuration, known as “3-plus.” According to Raytheon, Berlin’s investments to keep Patriot up to date had been lagging since the decision in favor of TLVS.
Meanwhile, the proposed new system’s funding profile has begun to take shape. Berlin wants to spend €3.36bn on TLVS between 2021 and 2028, according to a draft government budget proposal meant for deliberation by lawmakers after the summer recess.
That figure likely would be too low to finance Lockheed’s entire program proposal. But the draft budget includes a provision permitting a transfer of funds from the envisioned €5.6bn budget for a new heavy transport helicopter. The two contenders for that program are Boeing and Lockheed Martin. (Source: Defense News)
26 June 19. No sign of progress at NATO in U.S.-Turkey dispute over Russian defenses. The United States and Turkey appeared to make no progress during talks at NATO headquarters on Wednesday toward resolving a major dispute over Ankara’s plans to acquire a Russian air defense system, just ahead of its expected July delivery.
The United States says Turkey’s acquisition of Russia’s S-400 air defenses poses a threat to Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 stealthy fighters, which Turkey also planned to buy. Washington says Ankara cannot have both and has started the process of removing Turkey from the F-35 programme, including halting training of Turkish pilots in the United States on the advanced, stealth aircraft.
Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper warned his Turkish counterpart, Hulusi Akar, during closed-door talks on Wednesday that Turkish acquisition would also have an economic impact, a senior U.S. defense official said, in a nod to expected U.S. sanctions.
“The secretary was very firm, once again, that Turkey will not have both the S-400 and the F-35. And if they accept the S-400 they should accept ramifications not only to the F-35 programme but also to their economic situation,” the official said.
Buying military equipment from Russia leaves Turkey vulnerable to U.S. retribution under a 2017 law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA.
Turkey has played down U.S. concerns about the security of the F-35 and insists it cannot back away from the S-400 purchase. U.S. offers to supply it with Patriot missiles, manufactured by Raytheon Co, have failed to sway Ankara.
Asked if Turkey changed its position in any way, the official said: “There were no surprises but…the minister and the secretary were very clear with each other.”
If the United States follows through with removing Turkey from the F-35 programme, and imposes sanctions on the NATO ally, it would be one of the most significant ruptures in recent history in the relationship between the two nations, experts said.
But strains in ties between Washington and Ankara already extend beyond the F-35 to include conflicting strategy in Syria, Iran sanctions and the detention of U.S. consular staff in Turkey.
Turkey’s defence ministry issued a short statement acknowledging that the F-35 came up in discussions, as well as Syria and “other bilateral security and defense cooperation issues.”
The ministry said Esper and Akar “emphasized the importance of maintaining dialogue between Turkey and the United States.”
The head of Russian state arms exporter Rosoboronexport, Alexander Mikheev, was quoted on Wednesday saying Russia would make first delivery of the S-400 missile systems to Turkey in July.
With the clock ticking, attention will shift to an expected meeting between Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan and U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Japan this week. Erdogan has said he expected to discuss the issue with Trump.
Erdogan said last week that his relations with Trump were at a “very good” point, adding that the two leaders could reach a solution to bilateral issues through telephone diplomacy.
On Wednesday, speaking to reporters before departing for the G20 summit, Erdogan said he had not seen any indications in his talks with Trump that the United States will impose sanctions on Ankara over the S-400 deal, but added that he would discuss the issue once again during bilateral talks with Trump.
“Both myself and my ministers have stated several times that this issue was finished and that we were on the delivery stage now. For some reason, what we say isn’t heeded much, and what others say is being taken into consideration,” Erdogan said.
“Turkey is a NATO member. The United States is also a NATO member. If NATO members have started imposing sanctions on each other, I’m not aware of this,” he added. “In the talks I have held with Mr Trump so far, I have not seen any indications of this, but people in lower ranks keep mentioning these.”
One senior NATO diplomat said the meeting between the two leaders was probably the last chance of finding a solution.
But officials in Ankara and Washington are cautious.
“Everything indicates that Russia is going to deliver the system to Turkey and that will have consequences,” Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, said in Brussels on Tuesday. (Source: Reuters)
26 June 19. NATO weighs options to deter new Russian missile threat. NATO defence ministers considered on Wednesday how to deter Russia from launching a missile attack at short notice on Europe if a landmark treaty against land-based nuclear warheads collapses next month.
Barring a last-minute reversal by Russia that NATO does not expect, the United States is set to pull out of the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF) on Aug. 2 citing Russia’s development of a missile that breaks the accord.
Moscow says it is fully compliant with the INF treaty negotiated by U.S. President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev, which eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers.
“Ministers have agreed that NATO will respond should Russia fail to return to compliance,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told reporters after the meeting in Brussels.
“They will have to bear the full responsibility for the demise of the treaty,” although he said NATO would not place nuclear-capable, land-based medium-range missiles in Europe, as happened in the 1980s. U.S. and British intelligence shows Russia has conducted tests of the SSC-8 ground-launched cruise missile that violate the treaty ban on land-based missiles with a range of 500 km to 5,500km (300-3,400 miles), NATO diplomats say.
NATO says the missiles are hard to detect and have a shorter warning time than long-range rockets, raising the chances of nuclear weapons being used in conflict.
The missile dispute marks a further worsening of East-West ties that have deteriorated since Russia’s 2014 seizure of Crimea and has prompted fears of an arms race between Russia, the United States and China, which is also developing missiles.
Stoltenberg said defence ministers looked at options including more exercises, using conventional weapons and improving intelligence and surveillance, as well as air defence.
Diplomats told Reuters that flights of F16 warplanes and B52 bombers capable of carrying nuclear warheads and re-positioning sea-based missile systems were also under consideration.
Such steps are meant to underline NATO’s determination to protect Europe and raise the economic and military costs for Russia of any possible missile attack.
Luxembourg’s Defence Minister François Bausch said that while diplomats would continue to urge Moscow to destroy the SSC-8 missile, NATO also needed “a military answer” because the security of Europe was at stake.
FINAL DIPLOMATIC PUSH
NATO envoys are expected to meet Russian officials in the NATO-Russia Council forum next week to make a last-ditch attempt to save the INF treaty before the August deadline.
Kathryn Wheelbarger, an acting U.S. assistant secretary of defence, said that while there was still time for Russia to change course, “we don’t assess that they will.”
Before the meeting got under way, Stoltenberg declined to rule out that NATO could reconfigure its ballistic missile defence shield in southeastern Europe to counter Russian rockets.
After billions of dollars of U.S. investment, the NATO-controlled radar and its launchers are trained on Iran, officials say, and the alliance has repeatedly said they are not designed to target Russia, as Moscow has stated.
The United States says it will also focus on developing conventional missiles that serve as a deterrent to both Russia and China, which is not a signatory to the INF treaty and has stated its intention to push into new technologies including new cruise missiles.
“We need to build long-range precision (missiles),” Acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper told reporters on Tuesday en route to Brussels. “Relief from the INF treaty will allow us to do that in a non-nuclear way, in a conventional way. And it also frees us up to deal with not just Russia but China.”
European allies are worried about being caught up in nuclear competition between Moscow and Washington. (Source: Reuters)
25 June 19. Turkey will lose F-35 warplane if Russia arms deal goes ahead, U.S. says. The United States will stop Turkish forces flying and developing its F-35 stealth jets if Ankara goes ahead with the purchase of a Russian air defence system, the U.S. envoy to NATO said on Tuesday. Washington and its allies have urged fellow NATO member Ankara not to install the S-400 system, saying that would let the technology learn how to recognise the F-35s, which are built to avoid tracking by enemy radars and heat sensors. But Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan vowed anew on Tuesday to press on with the S-400 purchase despite allies’ concerns.
“We will hopefully start to receive the S-400 systems we purchased from Russia next month,” Erdogan told members of his AK Party in parliament. “Turkey is not a country that needs to seek permission or bow to pressures. The S-400s are directly linked to our sovereignty and we will not take a step back.”
Turkey has said its S-400 deal with Russia is final, exacerbating a diplomatic rift with the United States already widening over conflicting strategy in Syria, Iran sanctions and the detention of U.S. consular staff.
“Everything indicates that Russia is going to deliver the system to Turkey and that will have consequences,” Kay Bailey Hutchison, the U.S. ambassador to NATO, said in Brussels.
“There will be a disassociation with the F-35 system, we cannot have the F-35 affected or destabilised by having this Russian system in the alliance,” she told reporters.
The United States says the jets, made by Lockheed Martin Corp., give NATO forces a number of technological advantages in the air, including the ability to disrupt enemy communications networks and navigation signals.
Turkey produces parts of the F-35s fuselage, landing gear and cockpit displays. Hutchison said Ankara was an important partner in that production but that security concerns about Russia were paramount.
“So many of us have tried to dissuade Turkey,” she said. (Source: Reuters)
25 June 19. NATO chief threatens response if Russia doesn’t comply with nuclear treaty. NATO’s secretary general has warned Russia will face “credible and effective” measures should the country not comply with the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty by an Aug. 2 deadline set by the United States. The 1987 INF Treaty was established as a safeguard against nuclear war. Russia is accused of violating the treaty — a charge it strongly denies, instead accusing the U.S. — an alliance member — of flouting the pact by deploying missile-defense facilities in Eastern Europe. If Moscow does not comply by the deadline, Washington will also withdrawal from the treaty, according to the Trump administration.
“In the event Russia does not comply, our response will be defensive, measured and coordinated,” Jens Stoltenberg said Tuesday at a news conference, where he also discussed progress on defense spending goals and plans for space. “There is still a small window of opportunity for Russia to comply with the treaty, but it is getting smaller and smaller. If the treaty breaks down, the responsibility for this lies solely with Russia.”
Possible measures will be discussed at a meeting of NATO defense ministers in Brussels on Wednesday, he added.
When asked for specifics, Stoltenberg said: “Our response will be measured, as we do not want a new arms race. But we must ensure our defense remains credible and effective. This is NATO’s job.”
“I will not preempt the outcome of Wednesday’s meeting and I cannot say what the ministers will decide on Wednesday, but we will need to respond if Russia does not comply,” he added. “Some measures can be implemented quite quickly but others will take more time.”
He did say that new and unspecified measures could be adopted against Russia as soon as this week.
“The U.S and other NATO allies have tried to engage with Russia for years, and I again call on Russia to take the responsible path and comply with the treaty. But I have to say I see no sign of this,” he said.
“In fact, Russia is developing new missiles in violation of the treaty,” he added, pointing to the deployment of Russia SSC-8 missiles, which “have been of concern for several years.”
“There is no doubt Russia is violating the treaty, and now is the time to tell the Russians that if it does not comply with the treaty, there will be no treaty,” he continued. “There are just five weeks left for Russia to save the treaty. They still have time to respect the INF, but time is running out.”
Stoltenberg also said NATO allies were “on track” to meet a target of spending 2 percent of gross domestic product on defense.
Eight allies are now spending 2 percent on defense, up from three members in 2014. By the end of next year, European members and Canada will have added a cumulative total of more than €100bn (U.S. $114bn) since 2016, he said.
“This is a good trend, and we expect this to continue. The majority of allies have plans to reach 2 percent by 2024,” he said.
According to the NATO chief, most alliance members have increased their defense spending by double digits since 2014 and are boosting investment in new capabilities.
This year, 16 NATO members are expected to meet the benchmark of at least 20 percent of defense spending devoted to major equipment, and almost all members have plans to do so by 2024.
“Allies are also stepping up with more forces for NATO missions and operations. This is impressive progress and a sign of commitment and that NATO is on the right track. But we must keep up the positive momentum,” Stoltenberg said.
Plans for space
Ministers will approve NATO’s first-ever space policy at Wednesday’s ministerial meeting, Stoltenberg said at the news conference.
The meeting will be the first NATO event attended by acting U.S. Defense Secretary Mark Esper, who is heading to Europe to try to persuade reluctant and increasingly wary NATO allies to work with the Trump administration on Iran sanctions and security in the Middle East, amid concerns the U.S. and Iran are on a path to war.
Stoltenberg said the defense ministers will discuss creating a framework for how the alliance should deal with opportunities and challenges in space “for alliance security and operations.”
“Space is part of our daily lives. And while it can be used for peaceful purposes, it can also be used for aggression. Satellites can be jammed, hacked or weaponized,” he said. “Anti-satellite weapons could cripple communications. So it is important that we are vigilant and resilient — also in space.” (Source: Reuters)
24 June 19. Qatar’s Typhoon contract is ‘largest ever’ UK export credit deal, reveals UKEF report. Key Points:
- UK credit to support Qatar procurement worth a potential GBP5bn (USD6.4bn), but it needed ‘ministerial direction’ to progress
- UK Export Finance report also reveals Middle East and Asian countries are principal beneficiaries of UK defence export credit
Qatar’s deal with the United Kingdom in 2018 to procure Eurofighter Typhoon multirole fighters and BAE Systems Hawk advanced jet trainers is the largest deal to have been supported through UK export credit, it has been revealed. The UK’s export credit agency, UK Export Finance (UKEF), said in its recently published 2018-19 annual report that during the year it finalised “the largest single transaction in its history”, which features the provision of a potential GBP5bn (USD6.4bn) package to support Qatar’s order of 24 Typhoons, nine Hawks, and associated weapons.
The provision of credit to Qatar continues the UKEF’s trend in recent years to engage primarily with the defence materiel requirements of countries from the Middle East and Asia Pacific.
In addition to Qatar, UKEF information shows that beneficiaries of UK credit in recent years have included India, Indonesia, Oman, and South Korea. In addition to Typhoons and Hawks, which have also been exported to Oman through credit, other major UK-made defence systems to have been exported through such finance include air-defence systems, hovercraft, radars, and military vehicles.
According to the UKEF’s 2018-19 annual report, defence sector exports “contributed significantly” to its business during the year. The main defence programme, it said, was in relation to a “package of guarantees and insurance” supporting the sale of Typhoons and Hawks to Qatar. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
25 June 19. NATO calls on Russia to destroy new missile, warns of response. NATO urged Russia on Tuesday to destroy a new missile before an August deadline and save a treaty that keeps land-based nuclear warheads out of Europe or face a more determined alliance response in the region.
NATO defence ministers will discuss on Wednesday their next steps if Moscow keeps the missile system that the United States says would allow short-notice nuclear attacks on Europe and break the 1987 Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty (INF).
“We call on Russia to take the responsible path, but we have seen no indication that Russia intends to do so,” Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference. “We will need to respond,” Stoltenberg said.
He declined to go into more details. But diplomats said defence ministers will consider more flights over Europe by U.S. warplanes capable of carrying nuclear warheads, more military training and the repositioning U.S. sea-based missiles.
The United States and its NATO allies want Russia to destroy its 9M729/SSC-8 nuclear-capable cruise missile system, which Moscow has so far refused to do. It denies any violations of the INF treaty, accusing Washington of seeking an arms race.
Without a deal, the United States has said it will withdraw from the INF treaty on Aug. 2, removing constraints on its own ability to develop nuclear-capable, medium-range missiles. The dispute has deepened a fissure in East-West ties that severely deteriorated after Russia’s seizure of Crimea and its involvement in Syria.
“ALL OPTIONS ON TABLE”
Russia warned on Monday of a stand-off comparable to the 1962 Cuban missile crisis if the United States were to deploy land-based missile systems near Russia’s borders, but Stoltenberg said there were no such plans.
U.S. Ambassador to NATO Kay Bailey Hutchison told reporters that at present, Washington was only considering conventional, not nuclear weapons, in any possible response.
“All options are on the table but we are looking at conventional systems, that’s important for our European allies to know,” she said.
European allies are also worried about the deployment of U.S. nuclear missiles in Europe, as happened in the 1980s, and being caught up in nuclear competition between Moscow and Washington.
The INF treaty, negotiated by then-President Ronald Reagan and Soviet leader Mikhail Gorbachev and ratified by the U.S. Senate, eliminated the medium-range missile arsenals of the world’s two biggest nuclear powers and reduced their ability to launch a nuclear strike at short notice.
The treaty bans land-based missiles with a range between 500km and 5,500km (300-3400 miles). (Source: Reuters)
25 June 19. UK to continue to support Nato KFOR peace mission in Kosovo. The UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) has reaffirmed the country’s commitment to supporting the mission of Nato-led international peacekeeping force in Kosovo (KFOR). The Nato-led peacekeeping mission marks its 20th anniversary. The forces have been involved in a peace support operation in Kosovo since 12 June 1999 to help end the conflict and build stability in the area. Speaking at a National Army Museum event to mark the anniversary, UK Armed Forces Minister Mark Lancaster declared that the UK will continue to contribute to the KFOR mission.
Lancaster said: “I can still remember the warm welcome I received from the local population when serving in Kosovo two decades ago as a royal engineer. Those friendships have not been forgotten by either country and so we will be extending our decades-long commitment to securing the long-term stability of the region.”
The UN-mandated KFOR comprises troops from around 30 nations, including, Italy, Turkey, Poland and the US. UK troops have helped improve the intelligence, surveillance and reconnaissance capability of the force.
The KFOR mission involves coordinating the international humanitarian effort and civil presence and supporting the development of the Kosovo Security Force. In 1999, Nato conducted an air campaign against Serbia after growing violence between the Kosovo Liberation Army (KLA) and Serbian forces.
The Kosovo war took place between February 1998 and June 1999.
Meanwhile, the UK will continue providing its support to the EUFOR mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina to enhance stability and security in the Western Balkans. (Source: army-technology.com)
25 June 19. History made as UK F-35s complete first operational missions. Defence news today focuses on the news that the RAF’s F-35 stealth fighter jets have carried out their first operational sorties, joining the fight against Daesh in Iraq and Syria.
There is widespread coverage of the F-35s completing their first missions in The Sun, The Daily Mail, The Daily Mirror, The Daily Star, The Daily Telegraph, The Daily Express and The Times. The news was also covered as a news item on BBC Breakfast and BBC Radio 4’s Today Programme. Reports state that the jets have conducted 14 sorties over Iraq and Syria in the past 10 days, but have yet to unleash any bombs or weapons. Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt, who was interviewed by the majority of the above outlets at RAF Akrotiri, is quoted as saying that the fight against Daesh is not over. “They’re still a threat,” she says. “They’re a threat in the region and clearly their networks are a threat elsewhere in the world. That’s why, as well as making sure these fantastic capabilities are working well and that we are using them well, we have to also thing about what next.” (Source: U.K. MoD)
25 June 19. Defence Expenditure of NATO Countries (2012-2019). NATO collects defence expenditure data from Allies on a regular basis and presents aggregates and subsets of this information. Each Ally’s Ministry of Defence reports current and estimated future defence expenditure according to an agreed definition of defence expenditure. The amounts represent payments by a national government actually made, or to be made, during the course of the fiscal year to meet the needs of its armed forces, those of Allies or of the Alliance. In the figures and tables that follow, NATO also uses up-to-date economic and demographic information available from the Directorate-General for Economic and Financial Affairs of the European Commission (DG-ECFIN), and the Organisation for Economic Co-operation and Development (OECD).
In view of differences between both these sources and national GDP forecasts, and also the definition of NATO defence expenditure and national definitions, the figures shown in this report may diverge considerably from those which are quoted by media, published by national authorities or given in national budgets. Equipment expenditure includes expenditure on major equipment as well as on research and development devoted to major equipment. Personnel expenditure includes pensions paid to retirees.
The cut-off date for information used in this report was 20 June 2019. Figures for 2018 and 2019 are estimates.
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21 June 19. Turkey stands by S-400s, says F-35 partners disapprove of U.S.. Turkey has purchased Russian missile defences and is discussing a delivery date irrespective of any U.S. sanctions, Foreign Minister Mevlut Cavusoglu said on Monday, adding the United States is isolated as it also squeezes Turkey on F-35 jets.
The Pentagon announced earlier this month that training by Turkish pilots on F-35 fighter jets had been halted at a U.S. air base in Arizona following Turkey’s purchase of Russian S-400 defence systems.
The NATO allies have been at loggerheads over the issue for months. Washington says the S-400 is incompatible with NATO’s defence network and could compromise its F-35 fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping build and planning to buy.
Speaking at a news conference Ankara, Cavusoglu said partner nations in the F-35 jet programme do not support the steps taken by the United States to halt pilot training.
“Whatever sanctions will be decided, whatever statement would come from the United States, we have purchased S-400s and right now we are talking about when they will be delivered,” Cavusoglu said.
Buying military equipment from Russia leaves Turkey vulnerable to U.S. retribution under a 2017 law known as the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act, or CAATSA. Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan said on Thursday that he would discuss the issue with U.S. President Donald Trump at the G20 summit in Japan this week. (Source: Reuters)
21 June 19. U.S. cannot unilaterally remove Turkey from F-35 program: Turkish defense official. The United States cannot unilaterally remove Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program as the partnership agreement does not allow it, Turkey’s head of Defense Industries Directorate said on Friday.
“No single country can say they don’t want you and then remove you from the program,” Ismail Demir told reporters.
“This isn’t part of the agreement, this isn’t something you can just say ‘I exclude you’ about. The F-35 project is a partnership and nowhere in the agreement does it allow a unilateral removal of one country,” he said.
Ankara and Washington have been at loggerheads for months over Turkey’s planned purchase of Russian S-400 missile defense system. The United States says the S-400s are incompatible with NATO’s defense network and could compromise its F-35 fighter jets, an aircraft Turkey is helping build and planning to buy. In a letter to Turkey, the Pentagon has warned Ankara will be pulled out of the F-35 program unless it changes course. Washington has already stopped accepting more Turkish pilots for training in the U.S. and halted delivery of equipment related to the program.
The United States says Turkey’s S-400 acquisition poses a threat to Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35s. It has threatened to impose sanctions on Ankara under its Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act (CAATSA), the possibility of which has spooked investors and helped cause a selloff in the lira this year.
Demir said such sanctions could have a brief impact on Turkey’s defense industry. “Our defense industry produces parts for the F-35, so in the event of sanctions being imposed, our industry would experience a rough patch, but we’ll then get passed this,” he said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Reuters)
23 June 19. U.S. arms makers see booming European demand as threats multiply. U.S. arms makers say European demand for fighter jets, missile defences and other weapons is growing fast amid heightened concerns about Russia and Iran. The U.S. government sent a group of unusually high-ranking officials including Commerce Secretary Wilbur Ross to the Paris Airshow this year, where nearly 400 U.S. companies were showcasing equipment as the United States and Iran neared open confrontation in the Persian Gulf.
Lockheed Martin, Boeing and other top weapons makers said they had seen accelerating demand for U.S. weapons at the biennial air show despite escalating trade tensions between the United States and Europe.
“Two Paris air shows ago, there weren’t a lot of orders,” said Rick Edwards, who heads Lockheed’s international division. “Now … our fastest growth market for Lockheed Martin in the world is Europe.”
Many European nations have increased military spending since Russia’s annexation of the Crimea region of Ukraine in 2014, bolstering missile defences and upgrading or replacing ageing fighter jet fleets. NATO members agreed in 2014 to move towards spending 2% of gross domestic product on defence.
Eric Fanning, chief executive of the Aerospace Industries Association, said the NATO pledge and European concerns about Russia were fuelling demand. “I do think it reflects the increasing provocations of Russia,” he said.
Industry executives and government officials say growing concern about Iran’s missile development programme is another key factor. Tehran’s downing of a U.S. drone came late in the air show, but executives said it would support further demand.
“Iran is our best business development partner. Every time they do something like this, it heightens awareness of the threat,” said one senior defence industry executive, who asked not to be named.
Edwards said Lockheed’s F-35 stealth fighter, selected by Belgium, is poised to win another new order from Poland, while Bulgaria, Slovakia and Romania are also working to replace Soviet-era equipment.
Edwards and other executives say they see no impact from the ongoing trade disputes between U.S. President Donald Trump and the European Union.
U.S. Army Lieutenant General Charles Hooper, director of the Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency (DSCA), said Europe accounted for nearly a quarter of the $55.7bn in foreign arms sales his agency handled in fiscal 2018. Hooper said the U.S. government was making concerted efforts to speed arms sales approvals and boost sales to help arm allies with U.S. weapons.
Ralph Acaba, president of Raytheon Co’s Integrated Defense Systems business, said the company was boosting automation and working to deliver the Patriot missile system and other weapons in half the five-year period previously typical.
“Europe is really big for us now, and that’s a big change in just the last few years and even the last 18 months,” he said.
In addition to wooing new Patriot customers, Raytheon is upgrading existing systems for customers like Germany, which is likely to finalise a contract worth potentially hundreds of millions of dollars to the company in coming months.
Thomas Breckenridge, head of international sales for Boeing’s strike, surveillance and mobility programmes, is eyeing contracts wins for Boeing’s F/A-18 Super Hornet fighter jets in Germany, Switzerland and Finland.
“There’s a huge appetite in Europe for defence as a whole,” he said.
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