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04 Jul 19. Erdogan says a U.S. refusal to give F-35s to Turkey would be ‘robbery’ – Hurriyet. A refusal by the United States to hand over to Turkey the F-35 fighters jets which it has bought would be “robbery”, media reports on Thursday cited President Tayyip Erdogan as saying in a dispute over Ankara’s purchase of Russian air defences. U.S. officials have told Reuters the Trump administration still plans to impose sanctions on Turkey and remove it from the F-35 programme if its NATO ally acquires the Russian S-400 missile defence system.
“If you have a customer and that customer is making payments like clockwork, how can you not give that customer their goods? The name of that would be robbery,” Hurriyet newspaper quoted Erdogan as telling reporters during a visit to China. He said that Turkey had so far paid $1.4bn for the F-35s and that four jets had been handed over, with Turkish pilots going to the United States for training.
“We have made an agreement to buy 116 F-35s. We are not just a market, we are also joint producers. We produce some of the parts in Turkey,” he added.
After meeting U.S. President Donald Trump last weekend in Japan on the sidelines of a G20 summit, Erdogan said Ankara would be spared damaging U.S. sanctions once Russia’s S-400 air defence system started arriving in Turkey in the coming days. (Source: Reuters)
02 Jul 19. Turkey Stockpiles Crucial Weapons Parts, Anticipating U.S. Sanctions. Turkey, girding for the worst despite encouraging messages from President Donald Trump, has stockpiled crucial spare parts for American-made weapons in case Congress sanctions it over a contentious Russian missile purchase. It’s unclear when the stockpiling decision was first taken, but Turkish officials say the preparations were made in anticipation of possible U.S. embargoes. The U.S. has been threatening sanctions against Turkey since 2018, after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan decided to buy the Russian S-400 missile-defense system, a competitor to American-made Patriots.
Still haunted by a crippling U.S. arms embargo half a century ago, Turkey’s military has been amassing parts for F-16 jets and other military hardware, according to two Turkish officials familiar with their country’s defense strategy. Relations between the two countries deteriorated over the course of the Syrian civil war, when the U.S. armed a Kurdish militia that Turkey views as a terrorist group, and in the aftermath of a 2016 coup attempt against Erdogan that his government blames on a Turkish imam residing in the U.S.
NATO member Turkey is determined to acquire ballistic missile technology, and aims to co-produce the next generation of the S-400, the officials added, citing discussions with Russian President Vladimir Putin. Erdogan said his country will take delivery of the S-400 within days.
“The first batch of S-400s will be delivered in a week or 10 days,” Haberturk newspaper cited him as saying in a report Monday. “I’ve clearly told this to Trump, Mr. Putin also said it.”
The U.S. argues that the pivot to Moscow could allow Russia to collect critical intelligence that would weaken NATO and compromise the American F-35 stealth fighter, which Turkish companies are helping to build. Yet while Congress is drawing up potential sanctions plans that at their harshest would cripple the Turkish economy, Trump has cast Turkey as a victim in the saga.
At the Group of 20 nations meeting in Japan on Saturday, the U.S. president said Erdogan was treated unfairly by the Obama administration when he sought to buy an American missile-defense system. While the S-400 deal is “a problem,” the U.S. is “looking at different solutions,” he said.
The optics of Trump’s support for Turkey were undercut by a later White House statement that he had “expressed concern” about the Russian missile deal.
Turkey turned to Russia to address weaknesses in its air defense after failing to persuade the U.S. to share technology from its Patriot air-defense system as part of any acquisition deal. A missile deal with Moscow was announced in July 2017, and to try to head it off, the State Department last year approved a possible $3.5bn Patriot sale to Turkey.
Turkey isn’t convinced a Patriot deal would go through, due to doubts about opposition in Congress, and it won’t leave its air space vulnerable to penetration any longer, the officials said, speaking on condition of anonymity to discuss the sensitive issue.
On Monday, U.S. Representative Eliot Engel, chairman of the House Committee on Foreign Affairs, said Erdogan “needs to stop playing games and choose between the West or Russia.”
The S-400 deal “jeopardizes NATO and our own national security,” Engel said in a statement. “Turkey cannot operate an advanced Russian air defense system alongside sensitive NATO and American systems, period. President Erdogan must know there will be consequences.”
U.S. sanctions would degrade the alliance between the countries, and while Turkey would retaliate, it would leave the door open for resolving differences, they added. Last summer, Washington penalized Ankara over the jailing of an American pastor, compounding an already challenging economic outlook. The Turkish lira lost about a quarter of its value, inflation and joblessness soared, and the economy entered its first technical recession in a decade.
The officials declined to say which spare parts have been accumulated, where they were bought, or how long the inventory could last. The accumulation of parts is meant to signal that Ankara is better prepared to withstand American sanctions than it was when the U.S. imposed a four-year arms embargo over the Turkish military’s seizure of northern Cyprus in 1974, they said.
Distrust of U.S. Propels Turkey’s Russian Missile Purchase
A resolution submitted to the House of Representatives seeking sanctions against Turkey may hold a clue to the focus of Turkey’s parts-buying spree.
“In addition to the F-35 Joint Strike Fighter, Turkish defense acquisition programs that could be affected by sanctions include the Patriot air and missile defense system, CH-47F Chinook heavy lift helicopter, UH-60 Black Hawk utility helicopter and F-16 Fighting Falcon aircraft,” the resolution says.
The U.S. has threatened to end Turkey’s participation in the F-35 fighter program by July 31 if Ankara doesn’t scrap the S-400 deal. Turkey could separately face sanctions under two pieces of legislation that allow punishment of entities doing business with parts of the Russian state. Major Turkish defense contractors could be cut off from the U.S. financial system and virtually barred from buying American components or selling their products in the U.S.
If Turkey is excluded from the F-35 program, it will look for alternatives, including Russian jets, while trying to develop its own warplanes and ballistic missiles for domestic use and export, the Turkish officials said. Turkey regards standalone Russian S-400 missiles as superior to Patriots and capable of protecting the Turkish capital and the commercial hub of Istanbul, the officials said. Their presence would alleviate concerns over the security of Turkish straits linking the Black Sea to the Mediterranean, they added. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Bloomberg)
01 Jul 19. Sweden to boost Gotland air defence amid Russia tensions. Sweden’s military said on Monday it would deploy an updated ground-to-air missile defence system on the Baltic Sea island of Gotland in another sign of tension in the region with Russia.
The new system, developed and built by defence firm Saab, replaces the mobile anti-aircraft guns the military on Gotland have previously been equipped with.
“Gotland is an important area from a military-strategic perspective,” Micael Byden, supreme commander of the Swedish Armed Forces, said in a statement.
“Its geographical location gives the island significant military advantages in terms of protection and control of sea traffic, the Baltic’s airspace and the ability to base military units and capabilities.”
Although it is not a North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) member, Sweden has close ties to the alliance and has been beefing up its armed forces after decades of neglect amid increased anxiety over Russian sabre-rattling in the Baltic Sea region.
Earlier this year, Sweden called in Russia’s ambassador after a Russian fighter buzzed a Swedish military plane in international air space over the Baltic, flying just 20 meters away.
Sweden has in recent years complained over several incidents involving Russian military planes, including violations of Swedish airspace.
Gotland lies around 330 kilometres from Kaliningrad, the headquarters of Russia’s Baltic Fleet. (Source: Reuters)
01 Jul 19. UK Commitment to European Security Unconditional, Defence Secretary Reaffirms. Penny Mordaunt attends her first NATO Defence Ministerial and visits JEF deployment Baltic Protector.
In a three day visit that underlined the UK’s unwavering commitment to European security, Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt travelled to NATO HQ in Brussels for the first time. She then travelled to Lithuania to visit Baltic Protector, the Joint Expeditionary Force’s first large-scale maritime deployment.
At the NATO Defence Ministers’ meeting, Ms Mordaunt met with a number of key allies for the first time including French counterpart Florence Parly.
Speaking from NATO Defence Secretary Penny Mordaunt said:
“Whilst our relationship with Europe is changing, our commitment to the continent’s security is not. For the last 70 years, we have been a leader in the most successful military alliance the world has ever known, and we will continue to do so for many years to come.”
Allies discussed a range of topics such as NATO’s new Military Command Structure in which the UK is playing a leading role in the design. The UK is on track to fulfil its pledge of 1,000 British personnel to the new Command Structure and will be the third largest contributor.
Ms Mordaunt also announced that the UK will take on two new leadership positions within the new Military Command Structure. Later this year, the UK will provide a 2* Deputy Commander to the newly formed Joint Force Command in Norfolk, Virginia, and will fill the Director for Policy and Capabilities’ role for NATO’s International Military Staff in 2020. She also discussed the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty, reaffirming the assessment that that Russia has violated the terms of agreement, whilst noting that it still has a short window to come back into compliance.
Following NATO, the Defence Secretary travelled to Klaipeda, Lithuania, where she spoke alongside her Lithuanian counterpart Raimundas Karoblis at a ceremony on board HMS Albion to mark the first anniversary of the JEF since it was declared fully operational in London last year.
The Royal Navy ship has been leading the JEF Maritime Task Group on the Baltic Protector deployment. Baltic Protector, the first deployment of the UK-led JEF Maritime Task Group, marks a key milestone in preparing the Joint Expeditionary Force for action. It featured 3,000 military personnel and 17 vessels from nine nations exercising across Scandinavia and the Baltic Sea region. (Source: UK MoD/ASD Network)
01 Jul 19. Germany’s defence budget has been an apple of discord in relations between Berlin and Washington as the US president has repeatedly criticised its ally across the Atlantic for missing the NATO target of spending 2% of GDP on the armed forces. The German armed forces, the Bundeswehr, will lose 33bn euros from 2020 to 2023, German outlet Welt am Sonntag reports, citing the country’s Ministry of Defense’s confidential “Financial Needs Analysis 2020”.
The German government has recently passed a budget bill for the next year, which also includes financial planning until 2023. According to it, the German military will receive 44.9bn euros in 2020, but the military spending is expected to drop from 44.1 to 43.9bn euros starting in 2021. Thus, the share of the military spending in the gross domestic product (GDP) will fall from 1.37 percent in 2020 to 1.24 percent in 2023 and moves even further from the NATO target of 2 percent.
The analysis, prepared by the Defence Planning Department, totalled the funds necessary for “achieving multinational objectives and national ambitions” and was completed in December 2018. It is said to have outlined the basis for the discussions between the Ministry of Finance and Ministry of Defence.
The document suggests that if compared to the needed budget, the current spending plan would lack six bn euros. In 2021 and 2022, the budget is expected to need 10bn euros and 13bn, respectively. By 2023, this shortfall is said to grow to 14bn euros.
In this report, analysts from the Ministry of Defence pointed out that NATO tasks are expected to be impacted in particular, noting: “Numerous defence projects required to fulfill the NATO planning goals cannot be realised at all or cannot be realised on time”.
The budget plan has already prompted criticism within the Christian Democratic Union with the defence chief of the CDU parliamentary group in the German parliament, Henning Otte, accusing the government of underfinancing the Bundeswehr. The politician, cited by the outlet, noted that the current financial planning was insufficient “to ensure the security of Germany”.
The US Embassy has not stayed away from the debates, as well, and lambasted Angela Merkel’s government for this plan. “The Federal Government has explicitly committed to its NATO allies to increase defence spending to two percent of GDP by 2024 – and not to move further from that goal”, embassy spokesman Joseph Giordono-Scholz said, noting that the allies relied on “the German promises”.
The current US administration and President Donald Trump, in particular, has argued that the US is bearing the brunt of the burden in the alliance, while others underperform and spend less than the voluntary goal of 2% GDP set in 2014. The US commander-in-chief even reportedly threatened to pull the US out of NATO if the situation doesn’t change. He specifically slammed Germany stating that Berlin “is not paying their fair share”. Although Germany disregarded Trump’s demands to do it “now”, it announced plans to increase military spending up to 1.35% in 2019 and unveiled a further goal of boosting the number up to 1.5% by 2023.
Just a couple of weeks ago, German Chancellor Angela Merkel stated that Berlin will boost its defence budget next year in line with a gradual increase that has been taking place recently. However, efforts to push the spending boost by the country’s Defence Minister Ursula von der Leyen failed because the purse strings are held by the CDU coalition partner, the Social Democrats, whose member Olaf Scholz is the head of the Ministry of Finance. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Sputnik News)
01 Jul 19. U.K. Government’s Export Control Joint Unit Issues Notice to Exporters 2019/10 on Update of Export Control Order 2008 and Related Control List. The U.K. Government’s Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) has issued Notice to Exporters 2019/10 on the update of Export Control Order 2008 and the related consolidated listed strategic military and dual-use items require export authorization. The ECJU notes changes to the Order as follows:
- Main order Article 2(1) (interpretation)
- Article 36 (offences relating to prohibitions and restrictions in the torture regulation)
- Schedule 2 (military goods, software and technology)
- Schedule 4 (countries and destinations subject to stricter export or trade controls)
The new order, The Export Control (Amendment) Order 2019 (SI 2019 No.989) comes into force on 30 June 2019. In particular, the order implements Directive (EU) 2019/514, making changes to the list of defence-related products corresponding to changes made to the European Common Military List (CML) that was previously updated following changes agreed in the Wassenaar Arrangement (an international export control regime). The complete list of changes relating to the transposition of Directive (EU) 2019/514 can be found in the transposition note published with the order. The ECJU has also updated the Consolidated control list of strategic military and dual-use items that require export authorisation. (Source: glstrade.com)
27 Jun 19. Strategic Context Cases approved for implementation of EU Capability Development Priorities. EDA’s Steering Board in Capability Directors composition today endorsed the first edition of the Strategic Context Cases (SCC) which will guide the practical implementation of the 11 EU Capability Development Priorities approved by EDA Member States in June 2018. The SCC should ensure the priorities are implemented in a way that improves the coherence of the European capability landscape and leads to cooperative projects which contribute to close identified capability shortfalls.
The 11 SCC – one for every priority agreed last year (*) – describe in concrete terms what the current capability situation is, including the activities planned or already ongoing at national and/or multinational level in order to address the shortfalls. The outcomes of the NATO Defence Planning Process and the activities undertaken in the context of the Framework Nations Concept (FNC) are also taken into account in order to ensure coherence of output and avoid unnecessary duplication.
The SCC highlight in particular the major challenges to the coherence of the European capability landscape in each of these areas in the short, medium and long term. “We all know that there are pressing capability challenges across the whole spectrum. For example, there is a growing threat from the use of mini-drones to our military forces”, EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq commented. “The SCC will provide concrete and tangible gains across the Member States in addressing this issue in the short, medium and long term”. They also provide guidance to address these challenges by offering ‘avenues of approach’ for potential cooperation between participating Member States that could help achieve the priorities and improve the coherence of the European capability landscape.
The SCC are integrating documents: each of them also reflects the R&T priorities identified in the Overarching Strategic Research Agenda (OSRA) and related R&T activities linked to each capability priority. Cross references of the SCC to the Key Strategic Activities (KSA) which are considered important for the implementation of the priority such as technologies, skills and industrial manufacturing capacities will be added once the KSA reports are approved by the Steering Board.
To prepare the SCC, EDA worked closely with Member States, the EU Military Committee (EUMC), the EU Military Staff (EUMS) and European industry which was consulted to collect their views on technological solutions to close identified capability gaps and face the new security challenges. The Agency also ran staff to staff meetings with NATO to ensure activities developed by participating Member States within NATO are correctly reflected.
The next step in the elaboration of the first edition of the SCC will happen in February 2020 when EDA will present to the Steering Board part two of the SCC containing roadmaps of ongoing capability development activities and possible new ones which, subject to the necessary ad-hoc decisions by Member States, could be taken forward in the Agency framework. The SCC are living documents and will be updated by EDA over time, also on the basis of Member States’ feedback, to make sure they always reflect the latest developments in the implementation of each and every priority.
In June 2018, the EDA Steering Board in Capability Directors formation endorsed the 2018 Capability Development Plan (CDP) and approved the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities. In their Council conclusions adopted on 25 June 2018, Member States agreed that “these priorities, as a key reference for Member States’ and EU’s capability development, will inform CARD, PESCO and the European Defence Fund, which bring a step-change in defence cooperation, thus contributing to coherence among these three distinct but mutually reinforcing initiatives”. The June 2018 Steering Board also tasked the Agency to start the preparatory work for the implementation of the 2018 EU Capability Development Priorities, including with a view to the elaboration of SCC. In November 2018, the Steering Board tasked the Agency to proceed with the development of the SCC and to come up with a first edition by June 2019. Endorsed by the Steering Board, the SCC will now be forwarded to the Council as agreed by the Member States in the Council conclusions of 17 June 2019.
(*) The 11 EU Capability Development Priorities approved by Member States in 2018 relate to the following domains:
- Ground Combat Capabilities
- Enhanced Logistic and Medical Supporting Capabilities
- Naval Manoeuvrability
- Underwater Control contributing to resilience at Sea
- Air Superiority
- Air Mobility
- Integration of Military Air Capabilities in a changing Aviation Sector
- Enabling capabilities for cyber responsive operation
- Space-based information and communication services
- Information Superiority
- Cross-Domain Capabilities contributing to achieve EU’s Level of Ambition.
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. (Source: Reuters)
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. (Source: Defense-Aerospace.com)
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