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02 Aug 19. Russian request for missile freeze has ‘zero credibility’ – Stoltenberg. A Russian request to declare a moratorium on the deployment of short and intermediate-range nuclear missiles in Europe was not credible because Moscow had already deployed such warheads, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said on Friday.
“This is not a credible offer because Russia has deployed missiles for years. There is zero credibility in offering a moratorium on missiles they are already deploying,” Stoltenberg told a news conference.
“There are no new U.S. missiles, no new NATO missiles in Europe, but there are more and more new Russian missiles.” (Source: Reuters)
02 Aug 19. GMB Scotland Demands Assurances For Ferguson Marine Workers. These workers have had to endure a summer of uncertainty, and their patience is running out say GMB Scotland Responding to further speculation on the future of Ferguson Marine, GMB Scotland Organiser and Chair of CSEU Scotland, Gary Cook said:
“The speculation surrounding the future of Ferguson Marine Ltd is ignoring the greatest asset that the business has which is the highly skilled local workforce. These workers have had to endure a summer of uncertainty, and their patience is running out. We either need to see a deal done now which finally ends the impasse and allows the workers to get on with the job of completing the existing ferry order. Or, if it is the case that this cannot be done, then the Scottish Government must take control of the shipyard and work with the workforce to secure a long-term future of shipbuilding on the lower Clyde. If the business were allowed to enter administration then the consequences for workers and for the whole local community in Inverclyde would be completely unacceptable and it must not be allowed to happen.”
02 Aug 19. Statement by the North Atlantic Council on the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
- Russia today remains in violation of the INF Treaty, despite years of U.S. and Allied engagement, including a final opportunity over six months to honour its Treaty obligations. As a result, the United States decision to withdraw from the Treaty, a decision fully supported by NATO Allies, is now taking effect.
- Russia bears sole responsibility for the demise of the Treaty. We regret that Russia has shown no willingness and taken no demonstrable steps to return to compliance with its international obligations. A situation whereby the United States fully abides by the Treaty, and Russia does not, is not sustainable.
- NATO will respond in a measured and responsible way to the significant risks posed by the Russian 9M729 missile to Allied security. We have agreed a balanced, coordinated and defensive package of measures to ensure NATO’s deterrence and defence posture remains credible and effective.
- Allies are firmly committed to the preservation of effective international arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. Therefore, we will continue to uphold, support, and further strengthen arms control, disarmament, and non-proliferation, as a key element of Euro-Atlantic security, taking into account the prevailing security environment. NATO also continues to aspire to a constructive relationship with Russia, when Russia’s actions make that possible.
01 Aug 19. European FCAS fighter to be optimised for carrier ops. The manned New Generation Fighter (NGF) component of the Future Combat Air System/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (FCAS/SCAF) being jointly developed by Dassault Aviation and Airbus will be optimised for carrier operations from the outset, a source close to the programme has confirmed to Jane’s.
The NGF will follow a similar development path to that of the three variants of the Dassault Rafale fighter, the source added.
Engineers will take into account the lessons learnt from the Dassault Étendard, Super Étendard, and Rafale programmes for corrosion resistance and catapult shots/deck landings compatibility. During carrier landings, large loads are inflicted upon the airframe when impacting the flight deck. The paths through which these shocks and impact loads are absorbed will have to be carefully engineered, the source said.
On the Rafale, it was decided to build the strength required for carrier operations into the basic airframe, negating the need for structural enhancements that would be heavy and thus limit performance. Although it is too early to speculate on the final design of the NGF aircraft, the source confirmed that similar choices are likely to be made once detailed design work begins.
Electromagnetic compatibility is another major constraint on carriers as ship-borne radars and radios generate strong electromagnetic signals. To resist these, the Rafale’s electronic systems are protected by dedicated shielding and high-quality connectors. All these components also protect the Rafale against the powerful electromagnetic pulse that could be generated by either a nuclear explosion or a new generation of pulse/micro-wave weapons. The NGF will benefit from the same level of protection, said the source. For carrier operations, the NGF will need to be equipped with a landing gear capable of absorbing a 6.5 m/sec sink-rate and, like the Rafale, will be fitted with a launch-bar for the catapult. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
31 Jul 19. Nuclear Eurofighters? Germany Asked Pentagon to Certify Them to Carry Nukes. A good idea? Top U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Pentagon officials are working to respond to the German query, the sources said. Reuters reports that the German defense ministry asked the Pentagon in April on the possibility of certifying the Eurofighter to carry nuclear bombs. Anonymous sources said Berlin would also like to find out how long is the certification process and the cost involved. Although not a nuclear power, Germany hosts some U.S. nuclear warheads under NATO’s nuclear-sharing policy and operates a number of Tornado warplanes that can deliver them. New jets will need to be certified by Washington to carry out nuclear missions, a process which can take years.
Top U.S. Air Force (USAF) and Pentagon officials are working to respond to the German query, the sources said. Airbus is confident Eurofighter – a joint project with Britain’s BAE Systems and Italy’s Leonardo – could be certified by 2025. Sources familiar with the Eurofighter said it was possible to reconfigure the European jet to carry nuclear bombs.
But U.S. government sources say that schedule is ambitious given that the F-35 and other aircraft must be certified first. Washington has suggested it could take 7-10 years to certify the Eurofighter for nuclear missions, well beyond the Tornado’s retirement date, according to one German military source.
While urging Europe to boost defence spending, U.S. officials are worried about being shut out of European defence projects after 25 EU governments signed a pact in December to fund, develop and deploy armed forces together. U.S. officials will also weigh whether the Eurofighter could survive a mission into enemy territory to drop a nuclear bomb without stealth capability at a time when Russia and other potential future enemies have bolstered their sensors and air defences, a second source said.
As we have previously reported the Luftwaffe has a shortlist of existing platforms to replace its Panavia Tornado fighter bombers from 2025 to 2030 but the service “preferred choice” is the Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II, a German Air Force official said at the International Fighter Conference on Nov. 8, 2017. According to the same official in fact, the Lightning II can satisfy most of Germany’s requirements and offer other benefits as well.
“The Tornado replacement needs to be fifth-generation aircraft that can be detected as late as possible, if at all. It must be able to identify targets from a long way off and to target them as soon as possible. The German Ministry of Defence [MoD] is looking at several aircraft today, including the F-35 – it is commercially available already, has been ordered by many nations and is being introduced into service today, and has most of the capabilities required.”
But the German Defense Ministry said in a December letter to a lawmaker that the Eurofighter is the preferred choice to replace the Tornado fighter-bomber. In fact in a letter to a Greens lawmaker who had inquired about the deliberations, the German Defense Ministry said U.S. fighters (the F-35 as well as Boeing’s F-15 and F/A-18 aircraft) were secondary options. (Source: News Now/https://nationalinterest.org)
30 Jul 19. UK defense exports set new record in 2018. Sales of Typhoon jets to Qatar and F-35 related components to the U.S. were largely behind a record breaking year which saw British defense exports in 2018 reach £14bn, according to new figures released July 30 by the Department for International Trade(DIT).
Export sales rose by £5bn compared with 2017, boosting the British into second place in terms of global defense exports and pushing Russia and France into third and fourth place, respectively, for the year.
The DIT report illustrates how reliant Britain is on Middle East partners like Saudi Arabia and Qatar for its high performing exports business. The report shows that close to 80 percent of all British defense exports came from the region last year. Anti-arms campaigners in Britain are currently mounting a challenge against the legality of some previous defense exports to the Saudis.
Over the last ten years, the Middle East, North America and Europe have provided the biggest markets for the British, in that order.
The figures were provided by the DIT’s defense and security arm, known as the Defence and Security Organisation (DSO). According to the DSO, the British took an estimated 19 percent share of the defense export market for 2018, compared with 14 percent by Russia and 9 percent by France.
As is the case every year, the U.S. arms industry continued to dominate the world market, with DSO figures putting the Americans in control of 40 percent of a global export market, at $100bn for 2018, according to the government department.
The vast majority of British defense exports are from the air market sector. Around 96 percent of export sales last year were generated from defense aerospace, with the Typhoon sales to Qatar and an accompanying deal to purchase Brimstone missiles a major driver in Britain’s good year.
The other major factor is the ramp up in the supply of items for the F-35 production line. Britain is the biggest overseas partner on the F-35 build program with BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce among a number of important suppliers.
This lack of diversification is a concern for London. France, for example, may not have done as well as the British last year overall, but a number of defense industry sectors contributed to what turned out to be a good performance.
French exports rose to €9.1bn, a 30 percent rise from 2017. It’s biggest customers last year were Qatar, including Rafale fighter jets and NH-90 helicopters; Belgium, with Griffon and Jaguar armored vehicles; Saudi Arabia, including patrol vessels; and Spain, for NH-90 helicopters.
“It is worth noting that the portfolios of major competitors to the UK, such as the USA and France, appear slightly less unbalanced than the UK’s, and therefore, these supplier nations are less exposed to sector fluctuation,” noted the DIT report.
The good news for the UK: this year should go some way to redressing the balance between the British export sectors. The major maritime success of the Type 26 anti-submarine frigate, selected by both Australia and Canada, should starting appearing in the export data for 2019.
Security equipment exports also continued to grow last year, the DIT reported, rising 7.2 percent from 2017 and crossing the £5bn barrier. Almost half the exports went to Europe, with the North American market accounting for 18 percent of the sales. Cyber accounted for roughly 40 percent of those exports. (Source: Defense News)
30 Jul 19. Official 2018 defence and security export statistics published today show defence export orders rising to £14bn last year. The figures mean the UK remains the second largest defence exporter globally, based on a 10-year rolling average of orders. Security exports stood at £5.2bn in 2018, with cyber security exports the largest component at £2.1bn in value, up from £1.8bn the previous year.
ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “The UK’s defence and security industry is a world leader, trusted to deliver innovative and advanced equipment to the UK Armed Forces and our international partners. Rising defence export orders to £14bn in 2018 shows the demand for UK defence equipment, support and services around the world. The success of our defence industry makes an important contribution to our national prosperity, delivering 135,000 jobs in the UK in this high value sector.”
K defence and security export statistics for 2018
This statistical release comprises UK defence and security export performance data and analysis. The release principally focuses on 2018 data but includes historic data for context and trend analysis purposes.
UK defence export information is based upon data provided by UK companies via DIT DSO’s voluntary survey of defence export contracts. Rest of the world data is derived from open source reporting of other countries’ defence export contracts.
Security sector data is compiled by Westlands Advisory and counts sales of security equipment and services.
This is the sixth year that DIT DSO has published defence and security export figures as ‘Official Statistics’. This release has been compiled in conjunction with the DITstatistics team, whose technical advice and support is acknowledged here.
Our defence statistics relate to sales to overseas ministries of defence and associated armed services.
Our security figures relate to sales. Security data is provided by a contractor called Westlands Advisory, under a 1 year contract to DIT DSO. Data is aligned with HMG’s 7 Security Export Strategy capability areas:
- critical national infrastructure (CNI) protection
- cyber security
- policing and counter-terrorism (CT)
- major event security
- border security
- offender management
- services (including consultancy, training, guarding and risk analysis)
Separate methodology papers for the defence and security statistics accompany this release on gov.uk.
All the information collected on the defence and security markets is vital to our understanding of the shape of the market and trends. It helps DIT DSO target support to the defence and security industry.
On a rolling 10 year basis, the UK remains the second largest global defence exporter after the USA. In 2018, the UK won defence orders worth £14bn, up on the previous year (£9bn) and illustrative of the volatile nature of the global export market for defence.
The UK share of the global defence export market was estimated at 19% in 2018. The UK’s largest defence export markets were the Middle East, North America and Europe.
In 2018, the value of UK security export sales was £5.2bn, an increase from 2017 (£4.8bn), maintaining the UK at fourth place in the rankings.
The UK’s largest security export markets were Europe, Asia Pacific and North America.
The most obvious point to note is that the USA has annually achieved the highest estimated percentage of the global defence export market between 2009 and 2018. Our neighbouring European competitors have consistently had a lower percentage share than USA by value.
The UK and France with their similar sized industries and equipment portfolios for export, have historically vied with Russia for second or third place, trying to close the gap with the USA.
In 2018, the USA achieved market-share, estimated at 40% (reflecting strong sales across all sectors), UK 19%, Russia 14% and France 9%.
Italy has traditionally enjoyed a relatively consistent level of defence exports, a flat trend line, but in 2016 it won a large naval contract that was of sufficient value to propel it into sixth place for the 10 year period.
However, its performance in 2017 and 2018 was lower in comparison, and its market-share restored to its usual lower level.
Germany saw its estimated market-share peak at 9% in 2013 but in 2017, it did secure a big naval contract that helped its overall ranking. In 2018, it secured a major contract with Hungary for Leopard 2 main battle tanks worth $565m.
The UK is one of the world’s highest defence exporters, averaging second place in the global rankings on a rolling 10-year basis (2009 to 2018), making it Europe’s leading defence exporter in the period.
There were notable UK successes in the air domain in 2018 including Typhoon Aircraft and Brimstone Missiles to Qatar and numerous F35 related sales to the USA.
As we reported previously, the UK has won significant defence orders during the past decade, including:
- Typhoon aircraft to Kuwait
- Hawk aircraft to Oman
- Typhoon aircraft to Saudi Arabia
- Hawk aircraft to India
- Helicopters to Norway and South Korea
- Trent 700 engines to France
- offshore patrol vessels (OPVs) to Brazil
- F-35 work and bridging (USA)
- minehunters to Estonia
29 Jul 19. A last chance for Turkey? There could still be time to fix the S-400 issue. Russian President Vladimir Putin is on the verge of a major diplomatic victory in his efforts to divide the NATO alliance. Delivery of the first elements of the Russian S-400 air defense system to Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Washington’s correct decision to halt delivery of F-35 jets bound for Turkey in response may set off a chain of events that could even lead to Turkey’s withdrawal from the NATO alliance. It is not too late to think creatively and reverse the unraveling. The current dispute can easily escalate. Russia has already offered Turkey the Su-35 as a possible replacement for the F-35. Turkey is widening the dispute by threatening once again to attack Kurdish units in Syria that have aided the West in its fight against ISIS. Key U.S. senators have urged President Donald Trump to sanction Turkey further under the Countering America’s Adversaries Through Sanctions Act. Turkey might retaliate by denying the U.S. use of airfields, radar facilities, ports and intelligence-gathering facilities. If Turkey wants to retaliate against American allies who support the U.S. position on the S-400, Turkey can easily open the flow of refugees to the north. The fundamental American concern about protecting F-35 technology is sound and is shared by other members of the international F-35 consortium. The basic concerns are threefold.
First, if S-400 radars are able to continuously track the stealthy F-35 when both operate near each other in Turkey, Russia may be able to better identify F-35 signatures and reduce its stealth advantage.
Second, the F-35 is a flying computer. If it connects with the computers that operate the S-400, F-35 digital advantages may be compromised. If one country owns both systems, it will be difficult to keep those computers disconnected. Russian technicians assisting with the S-400 would certainly try to gain information on the F-35’s capabilities.
And third, if the Turkish S-400s are connected to NATO air defense radars, Russia would have an insider’s view of the intelligence systems designed to defeat it.
Other American partners like Saudi Arabia, Qatar and India are also pursuing S-400 purchases, so the consequences could be worldwide.
Differences over price and technology sharing led Turkey to spurn several U.S. offers to sell Ankara the Patriot system, opening the opportunity for Putin.
Much of the responsibility for this deadlock rests with Erdogan. He distrusts Washington for harboring Fethullah Gulen, who Erdogan believes orchestrated the 2016 coup attempt against him. He also distrusts his own Air Force and may even see the S-400 as protection against them.
Before this dispute escalates further, it is useful to remember that Turkey is a crucial NATO ally. It hosts U.S. forces in a strategic location and has the second-largest military in NATO. NATO is also important to Turkey if not to Erdogan. Its military forces are integrated into NATO’s equipment and force structure. A divorce would be catastrophic for both sides.
Technical fixes to make the S-400 sale less onerous have been considered, thus far to no avail.
In similar, difficult situations in the past, technical adjustments have made the difference. For example, both the Carter and Reagan administrations proposed the sale of F-15s and airborne warning and control systems respectively to Saudi Arabia. Those sales were consummated only after a series of technical adjustments were made to protect Israeli security. The F-15s were sold with strict range, mission and deployment limitations. Similar conditions governed the AWACS sale. Without those sales, the United States would have been hard-pressed to fight Desert Storm.
Given the stakes, it is worth one more attempt to see if a series of technical arrangements can ameliorate the negative consequences and even turn the tables on Putin. Other European members of the F-35 consortium might be enlisted to convince Turkey to agree. For example:
- Delivery of the F-35s might be delayed until all Russian S-400 technicians leave Turkey. They might be given a year to give the Turks some basic training.
- The deal might be NATO-ized by having multinational NATO crews to operate the S-400.
- The Turkish S-400 could be prohibited from operating whenever their F-35s fly within the S-400 radar range.
- The S-400s could remain disconnected from both the NATO air defense network and the F-35’s computers. This would make the S-400 a much less effective air defense system; but that would be part of the price Erdogan would need to pay.
- The U.S. could seek to further improve the conditions of a Patriot sale to Turkey, giving the Turks a better U.S. option.
- The Turks might agree to allow NATO to exploit the S-400 to better understand its capabilities and liabilities.
- If Turkey could agree to conditions like these, it still might be possible to avoid a termination of the F-35 sale and avoid a major rift within NATO. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
29 Jul 19. Who is new UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson has appointed his new cabinet, and MP and former Scots Guardsman Ben Wallace has replaced Penny Mordaunt as Defence Secretary. But who is Wallace and what will he bring to the role?
MPs say that like his predecessor, who was a reservist, he is suited to the role due to his military service. Wallace’s appointment marks the end of the Mordaunt’s short – 84-day – tenure at the Ministry of Defence (MOD) and he becomes the UK’s third defence secretary in as many years.
On leaving her role Mordaunt said: “I’m heading to the backbenches from where the PM will have my full support, as will my successors.
“Thank you to everyone who’s helped me get things done, especially our Armed Forces and civilians in defence for the last 85 days. We achieved much.”
Wallace said after the announcement of his appointment: “As a former officer with the Scots Guards, it is an honour to take up this role at the Ministry of Defence.
“I look forward to getting started and meeting colleagues from across the department and our military.”
Like many appointed to the cabinet’s top jobs, Wallace was a staunch supporter of Johnson during his election campaign, recently coming to his defence after claims the new Prime Minister had been denied access to secret intelligence.
Wallace tweeted at the time: “No Minister – Cabinet or junior sees all intelligence. They see what is relevant to their briefs & warranty. He was never not Cut out of any loop. The “need to know” principal always applies.” [sic].
Wallace has served in Government as Minister for Security and Economic Crime since 2016. This promotion sees him taking a Great Office of State for the first time. At 19 Wallace attended the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst where he trained before entering the Scots Guards at 20.
Serving in Northern Ireland, Germany and Cyprus from 1990 to 1998, official despatches from Northern Ireland in 1992 mentioned Lt Robert Ben Lobban Wallace for his service.
After leaving the army Wallace was the overseas director of British multinational defence company QinetiQ. These appointments seem set to give Wallace a firm base to step into Defence HQ.
During the expenses scandal, the Telegraph revealed that Wallace had been claiming £29,000 a year to employ his wife as a part-time research assistant as part of his parliamentary team. Wallace, however, was the first MP to make their expenses public, earning him the Spectator’s campaigner of the year award.
In his position as Minister for Security, Wallace was instrumental in criminalising travel to ‘designated areas’ under the Counter-Terrorism and Border Security Act. The law given royal ascent in February can punish people who travel to places like Syria with up to 10 years in prison.
Wallace became an MP in 2005, holding several posts in the then Conservative shadow-government, from Shadow Scotland Minister to Ken Clarke’s parliamentary private secretary.
Wallace is a believer in shrinking government saying: “Government should be in the business of rewarding aspiration and not in the business of protecting privilege. It should stand up for those who live by the rules.”
This is an approach he could bring this approach to the MOD. A challenge Wallace will face is the increasing funding issues stretching the armed forces ever thinner. The Royal Navy’s fleet of 13 frigates can barely police the world’s waterways as evidenced by the ongoing crisis in the Strait of Hormuz.
Dealing with Iran will be one of the most pressing concerns waiting on Wallace’s desk. A task however he should be well suited to. Wallace chaired the all-parliamentary group on Iran for 8 years from 2006 to 2014. This expertise will be key in navigating the country through the ever-intense flashpoint.
This stretch of the armed forces will continue if the country crashes out of the EU. Under ‘Operation Redfold’ the military will step in to help the government manage the fallout.
Wallace was a, EU Remainer and advocate against a no-deal Brexit, however, these stances may have fallen by the way-side. Boris Johnson stated that his cabinet must be prepared to accept a no-deal Brexit “come what may, do or die”. Wallace in the past said no-deal would leave the UK open to attack from terrorists, stepping into the job of Defence Secretary he will now find himself planning for something he warned against.
However, Wallace has also said that regardless of Brexit intelligence sharing with EU countries will remain the same, telling parliament: “Yes, I can reassure the House that intelligence sharing will go on unchanged.
“The relationship between intelligence services under national security, irrespective of our status within Europe, will not diminish, and the same goes for our status within the Five Eyes community—a strong partnership for intelligence.”
Wallace has consistently voted to authorise the use of the military abroad, agreeing to strikes against the so-called Islamic State and the continued deployment of British Forces in Afghanistan.
Wallace like Boris Johnson has also voted for the development of new nuclear weapons to replace Britain’s Trident continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent. However, Wallace has voted to renew Trident, consistently supporting the maintenance of a UK nuclear arsenal.
In 2009, Wallace speaking in Westminster Hall said: “my understanding of Trident replacement is that it will still mean a reduction in the number of warheads, so it is a move in the right direction.
“Secondly, even if one were advocating the suspension of Trident replacement, that is not the same as advocating unilateral disarmament. I do not think that the gesture would work.”
Johnson promised more defence spending and expressed support for ending the prosecution of British Northern Ireland Veterans. It is now up to the MP for Wyre and Preston North to make this happen. (Source: army-technology.com)
28 Jul 19. HMS Duncan arrives in the Gulf to support safe passage of British-flagged ships. The Royal Navy’s HMS Duncan has arrived in the Gulf to support the safe passage of British-flagged ships through the Strait of Hormuz. Freedom of navigation is crucial for the global trading system and world economy, and the Government has committed to doing all it can to defend it. Last week the Government confirmed that the Royal Navy has been tasked to accompany British-flagged ships through the Strait, to provide reassurance to the shipping industry.
Type 45 Destroyer HMS Duncan will work with Type 23 Frigate HMS Montrose until she comes off duty in late August, ensuring the continuous availability of ships to accompany merchant vessels.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Freedom of navigation in the Strait of Hormuz is vital not just to the UK, but also our international partners and allies.
“Merchant ships must be free to travel lawfully and trade safely, anywhere in the world. I’m pleased that HMS Duncan will continue HMS Montrose’s fine work in helping to secure this essential route.
“While we continue to push for a diplomatic resolution that will make this possible again without military accompaniment, the Royal Navy will continue to provide a safeguard for UK vessels until this is the reality.”
Secretary of State for Transport Grant Shapps said: “The security of British-flagged ships is our priority, and we continue to work to de-escalate the situation with Iran following the unacceptable and illegal seizure of the Stena Impero.
“Freedom of navigation is in the interest of every nation, which is why we have advised British-flagged ships that they will be provided with a military accompaniment to ensure the safety of trade in the region.”
HMS Montrose covers an operating area of some 19,000 nautical miles. She has so far accompanied 35 merchant vessels through the Strait during 20 separate transits, travelling 6,200 nautical miles in the process.
Commander Tom Trent, the Commanding Officer of HMS Duncan, said: “HMS Duncan has arrived in the Strait of Hormuz to continue the outstanding work to protect British maritime interests conducted by HMS Montrose and the United Kingdom Maritime Component Commander’s staff in Bahrain. HMS Duncan has shown the true flexibility of the Royal Navy by moving at pace to this area of operations.
“We have relocated from an intense deployment in the Mediterranean and Black Sea, which included support to the French carrier strike group with live operations in Syria. The Royal Navy continues to deliver consistent, enduring and world-class capability in the region – HMS Duncan is proud to support this vital operation and ready to play her part.”
Later in the year, another Type 23 Frigate, HMS Kent, will take over this tasking from HMS Duncan. HMS Montrose will remain stationed in the Middle East until 2022 as part of the Royal Navy’s permanent presence in the Middle East.
Operation Kipion, the operational name for UK forces in the region, is our commitment to promoting peace and stability as well as ensuring the safe flow of trade, and countering narcotics and piracy.
The UK has a long-standing maritime presence in the Gulf and the Indian Ocean. For almost 40 years, units of both the Royal Navy and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary have maintained a constant presence in the Gulf. (Source: U.K. MoD)
26 Jul 19. Erdogan says Turkey to turn elsewhere if U.S. will not sell F-35s. President Tayyip Erdogan said on Friday Turkey would turn elsewhere for fighter jets if the United States will not sell it the F-35 jets, adding that a U.S. decision to cut Ankara from the program would not deter it from meeting its needs.
The United States said last week it was removing NATO ally Turkey from the F-35 program, as long threatened, after Ankara purchased and received delivery of Russian S-400 missile defenses that Washington sees as a threat.
Washington has also threatened sanctions on Turkey, though Ankara has dismissed the warnings. It has instead put its trust in sympathetic comments from U.S. President Donald Trump, who has said that Turkey was treated “unfairly”.
Trump told reporters at the White House on Friday he does not blame Turkey for buying the Russian air defense system, but did not say when he would decide on imposing sanctions on Turkey for doing business with the Russian military, as required by a 2017 U.S. law.
“We’re looking at the whole Turkey situation,” Trump said. “It’s a tough situation … I don’t blame Turkey because there are a lot of circumstances.”
Erdogan, speaking publicly about the strained U.S. ties for the first time in 11 days, said he hoped U.S. officials would be “reasonable” on the question of sanctions, adding that Turkey may also reconsider its purchase of advanced Boeing (BA.N) aircraft from the United States.
“Are you not giving us the F-35s? Okay, then excuse us but we will once again have to take measures on that matter as well and we will turn elsewhere,” Erdogan told members of his ruling AK Party.
“Even if we’re not getting F-35s, we are buying 100 advanced Boeing aircrafts, the agreement is signed… At the moment, one of the Boeing planes has arrived and we are making the payments, we are good customers,” he said. “But, if things continue like this, we will have to reconsider this.”
Russia’s Rostec state conglomerate said Russia would be ready to supply its SU-35 jets to Turkey if Ankara requested them. But, Turkish officials said on Thursday there were no talks with Moscow on alternatives to the F-35 jets for now.
Ties between Ankara and Washington have been strained over a host of issues. Turkey has also been infuriated with U.S. support for the Kurdish YPG militia in Syria, a main U.S. ally in the region that Ankara sees as a terrorist organization.
Ankara has warned that it would launch a military operation in northern Syria to wipe out the YPG if it could not agree with Washington on the planned safe zone in the region, saying it had run “out of patience.”
However, Erdogan said on Friday that Turkey is determined to destroy the “terror corridor” east of the Euphrates river in Syria no matter how talks on the safe zone conclude, as Ankara ramped up its threats of an offensive. (Source: Reuters)
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