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30 Aug 19. Brexit, the US/UK Trade Deal and UK Defence Exports. Given the experience BATTLESPACE has had with UKTI and now DIT and the associated ADS Trade Association, it will require a change of attitude on top of any new trade deal to increase defence exports to the USA, the world’s largest market. I have been attending the annual Association of United States Army (AUSA) Trade Show in Washington DC since the 1980s as an Exhibitor and Press. Over the past ten years I have been urging UKTI/DIT and ADS to support visiting UK companies with advice and contacts prior to and during the event, with associated press coverage, to no avail. BATTLESPACE offered an advertising deal for £50 per company covering advertising and PR prior to and during the show, it was turned down, believed to be because ADS promise PR to members as part of their subscription! In earlier years, at the end of the event, the Hall was open to vising high-ranking US military and their wives, to tour the exhibits and discuss cooperation and products in a relaxed format. The US firms served Tequila, the Swedes, vodka, the Germans, Jägermeister and the Australians, beer. What did the UKTI/ADS Pavilion serve – nothing, they closed it before the event.
In the 90s BATTLESPACE held two events at the Army & Navy Club as no other Reception was available due to cuts. Eventually industry clubbed together to hold one in a pub in Downtown DC at which mainly UK companies attended with very few US contacts from the Embassy, DoD and Pentagon.
Thus, UK attendance has been dwindling to the effect that there is now no UK Pavilion at AUSA, in 2018 the Pavilion was cancelled at the last minute with one company left with no booth, the excuse being that AUSA ‘didn’t give the UK what it wanted.’ I am sure the real reason was that SMEs not wanting to spend upwards of £15000 to attend a show without any support. No one from DIT visited the event at the height of the Brexit negotiations in 2017, preferring to attend the Dubai Airshow, maybe more airmiles for Liam?!. The Embassy Reception at which press are routinely not invited, (I am indebted to the DA for my invite last year), was smaller in 2018 because ‘someone got drunk the year before!’ The US Trade Associations take a totally different view to overseas trade shows. They have a ‘big brother,’ be it a representative for one of the Pries to help SMEs gain the best advantage and contacts from the trade booth.
Adam Thomas OBE and his team work tirelessly to man and run stands across the world, but cuts made by the Government mean that there has to be a profit element in these events, thus support for SMEs is cut and their costs go up. There seem to be little support from on high. In the 80s and 90s DESO was a global powerhouse supporting companies across the world to sell goods, the drop in defence exports, although bulked up by security exports, mirrors this declining influence, started by the Brown administration which was known to be anti-defence.
If the UK wants a good and improved trade deal with the US it is time that DIT got its act together in the defence segment before other countries win important deals on key new programmes.
30 Aug 19. HMS Queen Elizabeth deploys from Portsmouth. HMS Queen Elizabeth deploys from Portsmouth. While at sea, HMS Queen Elizabeth will be accompanied by other units of the Commander UK Carrier Strike Group including a Type-45 destroyer, a Type-23 frigate and air assets from the Carrier Air Wing. This provides vital warfighting skills and training for each element to the Royal Navy’s potent carrier strike capabilities.
Coverage of the departure ran throughout the day. Good Morning Britain ran live segments about the upcoming deployment on their hourly morning news bulletins. This included an interview with Commodore Mike Utley, who said that the ship was testament to British industry and paid tribute to the skilled crew that would allow the sea trials to be carried out with the US.
Print coverage from this morning appears in the Times, Press and Journal, Scotsman and the Daily Record. The reporting noted that this will be the first time British F35s take off from the flight deck.
During the afternoon, the carrier also featured in ITV’s lunchtime news bulletin.
Read more about the deployment on the Ministry of Defence’s website
Defence Minister Anne-Marie Trevelyan said:
“HMS Queen Elizabeth is symbolic of the UK’s global reach and power. As she enters this stage of the programme, she will demonstrate her immense engineering, capability and battle readiness.
“As she makes her second voyage across the Atlantic, HMS Queen Elizabeth will also strengthen our special relationship with the US and Canada. Our naval forces will visit Canada then spend the coming months working and training side by side with the US to ensure the UK’s carrier strike is ready for operations in 2021.” (Source: U.K. MoD)
29 Aug 19. How Poland plans to land an F-35 deal and ‘Fort Trump.’ By 2026, the Polish Ministry of Defence plans to allocate about 185bn zloty (U.S. $47bn) toward acquiring new weapons and military equipment, with fifth-generation fighter jets a top priority.
Twenty years after Poland joined NATO, and despite the integration of some Western-made fighter jets and armored vehicles, the country still uses Soviet-designed gear dating back to the 1955 Warsaw Pact.
Poland and other allies in Eastern Europe are intensifying their military modernization efforts in response to Russian activity along NATO’s eastern flank and its annexation of the Crimean Peninsula from Ukraine.
For 2019, the Polish MoD set a record budget, at more than 44bn zloty, as required by the country’s plan to raise defense spending to 2.1 percent of gross domestic product in 2020, and reach 2.5 percent in 2030. A significant share of the country’s defense spending is to be directed at the acquisition of Western-made gear.
Warsaw’s potential acquisition of fifth-gen fighters is one of the top modernization projects in the pipeline. In May, Polish Defense Minister Mariusz Blaszczak said the ministry sent a letter of request to the U.S. regarding Warsaw’s plan to acquire 32 F-35A aircraft. The fighters are to replace the Air Force’s outdated, Soviet-designed Sukhoi Su-22 and Mikoyan MiG-29 jets.
Negotiations for the jets are taking place as Warsaw is seeking a permanent U.S. military presence in Poland, dubbed “Fort Trump.” Warsaw offered to allocate at least $2bn toward the project under which the U.S. would build a military base in the country. On June 12, Polish President Andrzej Duda met with U.S. President Donald Trump in Washington to discuss the initiative and ink a joint declaration on defense cooperation regarding U.S. force posture in Poland.
“The United States plans to enhance its current military presence of approximately 4,500 rotational U.S. military personnel in Poland. This enduring presence is expected to grow by about 1,000 additional U.S. military personnel in the near-term, and would focus on providing additional defense and deterrence capabilities in Poland,” the declaration read. “With the understanding that the increased U.S. force presence in Poland is made sustainable with Polish support, Poland plans to provide and sustain jointly determined infrastructure for the initial package of additional projects listed below, at no cost to the United States and taking into account the planned level of its use by U.S. forces.”
Trump is scheduled to visit Poland from Aug. 31-Sept. 1. The topics of a stronger U.S. troop presence in the country, as well as a potential F-35 sale, are expected to come up.
But F-35 acquisition negotiations will likely be separate from Fort Trump discussions, as the logistics and technical aspects of a troop deployment deal are nearing a conclusion, according to Tomasz Smura, the director of the research office at the Warsaw-based Casimir Pulaski Foundation.
“If Poland decides to buy the F-35, this will open an array of new possibilities before the Polish Air Force in the upcoming decades. This aircraft offers stealth and interoperability capacities that are currently not available to the Polish military,” Smura told Defense News. “However, there are also some critical voices on this potential purchase. Some analysts doubt whether we should introduce a second type of fighter instead of expanding Poland’s fleet of 48 F-16s. This number of modern fighter jets doesn’t match Poland’s military needs and the country’s size. Other analysts add that we’re simply not ready to fully use the capacities offered by the F-35, and that further F-16s would suffice to match the current state of development of the air forces of our eastern neighbors.”
Despite the country’s rising defense expenditure, some observers also doubt Poland’s capacity to finance the F-35 acquisition alongside other ambitious military procurements, such as the Wisla air defense program.
In March 2018, Poland signed a letter of offer and acceptance with the U.S. government to purchase Raytheon’s medium-range Patriot system. Under the deal, Warsaw is to acquire two Patriot Configuration 3+ batteries fitted with Northrop Grumman’s Integrated Air and Missile Defense Battle Command System, as well as Lockheed Martin-made Patriot Advanced Capability-3 Missile Segment Enhancement missiles.
Deliveries are expected by the end of 2022, with plans to reach an initial operational capacity around the 2023-2024 time frame, according to data from the Polish MoD.
Warsaw’s other procurement plans include short-range air defense systems, combat helicopters for the country’s Air Force, new submarines for the Polish Navy, UAVs for various military branches, and the buildup of cyber warfare capacities using new hardware, the ministry said. (Source: Defense News)
28 Aug 19. New UK digital export licensing system to go live in 2020. The UK government is introducing a new online licensing system for the export of strategically controlled items in January 2020, following a period of development and beta testing. The Licensing for International Trade & Enterprise (LITE) platform will replace the legacy Shared Primary Information Resource Environment (SPIRE) in a phased delivery. It will be administered by the Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) that is led by the Department for International Trade (DIT), with support from the Foreign and Commonwealth Office and Ministry of Defence (MoD). LITE and SPIRE will run in parallel until March 2020, when the latter will be formally deactivated. (Source: glstrade.com/ IHS Jane’s)
21 Aug 19. kc4business Ltd is participating in this year’s DSEi held at Excel, London, UK from September 10 – 13. kc4business Ltd is a business development, sales support consultancy offering an extension of businesses without the cost and need to commit to a full time member of staff. Kc4business offers a diverse range of outsourcing services, being adaptable to a client’s needs in terms of focus and time commitment offering benefits, including attendance at defence and rail “meet the buyer” events, often on a cost share basis. Client tasks include: relationship building within the supply chain and DVD partnership stand management, within the aerospace, defence and rail industries in particular.
By way of examples, a client may wish to outsource the development of new or existing customers; the client may need help in relationship building within a supply chain; they may require support at trade shows – administering, staffing the stand installation, or finding and developing new contacts and following up potential new customers.
Supporting companies include:
*Hub Electronics, 40 years as a worldwide distributor and in depth stockist of electro-mechanical products, connectors, cables, backshells, project management services. Products are available in all standard materials and plating, finishes and are RoHS, REACH and VG approved.
*Parmley Technologies, over 20 years’ experience in designing and manufacturing electronic control panels, printed circuit boards and joy stick consoles for military vehicles.
*NewMet – a wide range of polymeric solid and foam based products for use in vehicle interior applications including thermal insulation, seals, gaskets, sound barriers, shielding products, seat cushions and adhesive and masking solutions.
* SAE – From the first spark plug in 1917, SAE has played a critical role in the progress of the global aerospace industry. Known for publishing an extensive range of mobility engineering standards for the Aerospace and Automotive Sectors.
28 Aug 19. Esper sets demand that might let Turkey rejoin F-35 program. The Pentagon would consider allowing Turkey to rejoin the F-35 program only if the Russian-made S-400 air defense system is completely removed from Turkish soil, meaning the government in Ankara could not simply keep the systems deactivated in warehouses, the Pentagon’s top official said Wednesday.
“They have to, again, get rid of the S-400 program and completely out of the country [before] we could consider that,” Secretary of Defense Mark Esper told press when asked about the possibility Turkey could find a way to again be part of the Joint Strike Fighter program.
“I have been very clear in both my public comments and privately with my Turkish counterpart: It’s either the F-35 or the S-400,” he said. “It’s not both. It’s not park one in the garage and roll the other one out. It’s one or the other. So we are where we are, and it’s regrettable.”
Turkey, a partner in the F-35 program that helped fund the development of the jet, planned to buy 100 F-35As. However, a decision by Ankara to purchase the S-400 threw a political bomb into the F-35 acquisition plan; the U.S. and its NATO allies expressed major concerns about the Russian system sharing airspace with the alliance’s newest fighter.
In July, Turkey took possession of the first S-400 pieces, and the U.S. formally kicked the country out of the F-35 program. As a result, by March 2020, Turkey’s industrial participation in the F-35 program will be done, with work shifted to U.S. companies.
The secretary’s comments were the first official confirmation that a path, however narrow, for Turkey to rejoin the program does exist.
Some analysts have questioned whether a loophole exists that would allow Ankara to back down, save face and regain the fifth-generation fighter. Should Turkey keep the S-400 parts in a warehouse somewhere not actively running, the argument goes, the U.S. could invite Turkey back to the F-35 program.
But Esper seemed to shut that down, saying: “No, not in my book,” when asked about the possibility. Appearing with Esper was Chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff Gen. Joe Dunford, who expounded on the overall relationship with Turkey.
“When I look at Turkey and the United States, it’s very clear to me that we have many more areas of convergence than divergence,” said Dunford, who has spent significant time traveling to Turkey since the failed coup of 2016. “And many of these areas of divergence are kind of near-term issues. They are difficult issues, no question about it, but they’re issues that we can work through. So we try to focus on the horizon.
“If you look at Turkish national interests and you look at U.S. national interests, they are much more closely aligned with any other interlocutor that Turkey may be dealing with right now.” (Source: Defense News)
28 Aug 19. A quiet DSEI? Seasoned BATTLESPACE readers will note a complete absence of our bi-annual UK military vehicle contracts update to coincide with our DSEI issue. BATTLESPACE contacted RBSL, the BAE Systems, Rheinmetall JV about MIV Boxer and Challenger 2 LEP, GDELS about Ajax, Lockheed Martin (UK) about Warrior and Oshkosh about JLTV. They all remained tight lipped about progress towards contract negotiations I spite of the reports that Oshkosh had passed the MoD Investment Appraisal Board (IAB) recently. Sources suggest that new defence minister ben Wallace is conducting a review of all major projects at the same time as a Cabinet review of all major projects, with HS2 being the first casualty. The same sources suggest that no contracts will be agreed pre-Brexit. DSEI coincides with crucial dates for the UK, do we crash out without a deal and what will the government say about Brexit during DSEI? The Department for International Trade (DIT) has been remarkably quiet about future export strategy post-Brexit. The biggest thereat to our exports comes from supplying equipment with EU content, which, the EU could object to and stop, offering an EU alternative product at a time when all governments are growing defence exports. It still strikes the Editor as so short sighted that UK has stopped having a UK Pavilion at AUSA National in October when it should be pushing hard into the world’s largest defence market.
27 Aug 19. Putin Pitches New Warplane to Erdogan as U.S.-Turkey Ties Strain. Russia and Turkey said they’ll deepen defense cooperation after President Vladimir Putin showed off his latest stealth fighter jet to Turkish leader Recep Tayyip Erdogan, who’s locked in a dispute with his NATO ally Donald Trump over buying new U.S. warplanes. Putin told reporters Tuesday that Russia’s ready to “actively discuss” further sales and even joint production of weapons following Turkey’s purchase of an advanced S-400 air-defense system that prompted the dispute with Trump.
“We talked about cooperation on the Su-35” fighter jet and “about possible work even on the new Su-57 plane,” Putin said, after he and Erdogan inspected the cockpit of the fifth-generation warplane at an airshow outside Moscow.
Erdogan said Turkey wants to continue “solidarity in many areas of defense industry” with Russia, including in fighter jets, and “we’ll develop rapidly.” The two leaders also sought to ease a rift over fighting in Syria’s Idlib region. Erdogan’s visit follows the U.S. decision last month to suspend Turkey’s ability to buy and help build the advanced F-35 stealth warplane in retaliation for defying Trump and taking delivery of the S-400. Putin said shipment of a second S-400 battery began Tuesday. The U.S. says acquiring the system is incompatible with Turkey’s role in NATO and the F-35 program because it may allow Russia to glean information about the fighter’s advanced technology. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Bloomberg News)
27 Aug 19. USAF B-2 “Spirit” Stealth Bombers Arrive in UK. Three B-52Hs from Barksdale Air Force Base, La., and three B-1Bs from Ellsworth AFB, S.D., along with approximately 800 Airmen, are currently supporting exercises Saber Strike and BALTOPS in the U.S. European Theater. While not actively participating in ongoing regional exercises, the B-2 Spirits join the other Air Force Global Strike Command assets in support of recurring bomber assurance and deterrence operations. Bomber deployments enhance the readiness and training necessary to respond to any contingency or challenge across the globe.
“The bomber assurance and deterrence missions these three aircraft are supporting are key to reinforcing our commitment to our allies in NATO — in a very visible, very tangible way — that we stand shoulder to shoulder with them, no matter what,” said U.S. Air Force Col. Jared Kennish, 322nd Air Expeditionary Group commander.
U.S. Strategic Command routinely conducts bomber operations across the globe as a demonstration of commitment to collective defense and to integrate with geographic combatant commands operations and activities. This is the first time that all three bomber platforms have been located together in the European theater, and only the second time total in AFGSC command history; the first was in Guam in August 2016.
“This short-term deployment demonstrates the flexible global strike capabilities of the U.S. bomber force, and ensures bomber crews maintain a high state of readiness,” said Kennish. “The training will provide opportunities to integrate capabilities with regional partners, and is part of the United States’ commitment to supporting global security.”
A number of total-force Airmen from Whiteman Air Force Base are supporting the B-2 operation. Many, including Kennish, are members of the Missouri Air National Guard’s 131st Bomb Wing. The Guard wing has cleared a number of operational performance evaluations and readiness assessments to obtain full operational capability to perform the strategic bomber mission of the B-2 alongside the active duty 509th Bomb Wing, at home and at Fairford. Members of the 131st BW have been a part of every previous bomber assurance and deterrence operation; however, this is the first time that the operations of all three strategic bombers has been led by a Guardsman, further signaling the full arrival of the total force construct in Air Force Global Strike Command.
“There may have been a time early in our transition when people wondered if our two wings could make work in the B-2 operations, maintenance and support missions, but we’ve long since proved the concept at Whiteman,” said Kennish. “Operations like the ones we’re supporting this month just put an exclamation point on our record of total-force team success.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/US Air Force Global Strike Command)
27 Aug 19. Erdogan says Turkey wants to continue defence cooperation with Russia. President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that Turkey wants to continue defence industry cooperation with Russia, including on warplanes, following talks in Moscow with his Russian counterpart Vladimir Putin. Erdogan spoke after the leaders visited an air show outside the Russian capital where Sukhoi Su-57 stealth fighter jets performed demonstration flights and the Turkish leader inspected aircraft. In another step that could further strain ties with NATO ally the United States, Turkey took delivery on Tuesday of a second batch of Russian S-400 air defence equipment.
“We are taking positive steps in the defence industry sector with the delivery of the S-400 systems starting,” Erdogan said at a news conference alongside Putin.
“With that, in our meetings today we had the opportunity to discuss what steps we could take in various fields within the defence industry and what we could do,” he added.
The initial delivery of parts of the S-400s, which Washington says is not compatible with North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) defences, arrived in Ankara in July despite warnings about possible U.S. sanctions over the purchase. Washington has not yet acted on the threat, but it did begin last month to remove Turkey from its programme of manufacturing F-35 jets, which Turkey also planned to buy. In response, Erdogan said Turkey would turn elsewhere for jets to meet its needs.Putin said he and Erdogan discussed cooperation on Russia’s Su-35 jet and possible joint work on the its new Su-57.
“In my opinion, a lot has drawn an interest from our Turkish partners, not only from a purchase point of view but also from joint production,” Putin said at the joint briefing. (Source: Reuters)
24 Aug 19. Britain sends another warship to boost presence in the Gulf. Britain is sending another warship to the Gulf to defend freedom of navigation, the defence minister said on Saturday, after Iran seized a British-flagged tanker in the region. Tensions have risen between Iran and Britain after Iranian commandos seized a British-flagged tanker last month. That came after British forces captured an Iranian oil tanker near Gibraltar, accused of violating sanctions on Syria. The navy said HMS Duncan, a type 45 frigate, sailed from Britain on August 12, alongside HMS Kent, which was also heading to the Gulf to replace the HMS Duncan.
“Wherever the red ensign flies around the world, the UK stands by to protect freedom of navigation whenever is it tested,” defence minister Ben Wallace said. (Source: Reuters)
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