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06 Sep 19. New Italian Government Faces Urgent Decision on F-35 Order. The new Italian government’s main priority in the field of defense is whether it will confirm Italy’s long-delayed order for F-35 fighters, which according to Italian press reports must be officially awarded to the Pentagon by the end of September, failing which Italy’s delivery slots would be lost.
Given that this leaves barely three weeks, it is probable that the new minister’s main priority will be first to prepare the draft defense budget for 2020, and then to take a final position on the F-35 order, which will leave little time to take a deliberate, long-term decision on how to proceed with the next-generation fighter.
The F-35 decision was delayed by an unresolved struggle between the previous government’s two parties: The Five Stars movement of Luigi Di Maio, appointed foreign minister in the new Cabinet sworn in on Thursday, is ideologically opposed to ordering additional fighters. The Lega party of former Interior Minister Matteo Salvini, on the other hand, considers that the technology and jobs it brings with it make it an indispensable investment in the country’s future.
Historically, the Partito Democratico (PD) of which incoming defense minister Lorenzo Guerini is a member, has been a strong proponent of buying the full complement of 90 F-35s, but this was attributed by some to a personal position by PD chief Matteo Renzi more than to an official party line.
Next-generation fighter: Project Tempest or SCAF/ FCAS?
Italy was on the cusp of joining the UK Tempest program for the development of a next-generation fighter jet when its government fell last week, and it is not yet clear whether the new government and the new defense minister will confirm their predecessor’s decision.
Italian media reports, including the daily La Stampa, reported earlier this week that the previous defense minister, Elisabetta Trenta, had agreed in principle to join the Tempest program, and had so informed her British counterpart Ben Wallace during a bilateral meeting in Helsinki last Thursday, on the sidelines of an EU ministerial meeting. La Stampa added that the relevant agreement was to have been signed on Sept. 11 at the DSEi trade show in London.
However, Trenta did not survive the recent political upheavals, and was replaced by Lorenzo Guerini, a member of the Partito Democratico in the second Conte government sworn in on Thursday. Given the timing, it is improbable that any decision on the next-generation fighter will be hurried through in a matter of days by the new government.
Whereas the Italian government had immediately expressed interest in joining the Tempest project when it was announced in July 2018, it had never made a formal decision on the matter.
Before the summer, Trenta had promised Italian industry that a decision on the future fighter would be taken by September, but none was announced and the ministry, in parallel, also maintained contacts with France and Germany which, together with Spain, are now working to prepare demonstrator contracts for their New-Generation Fighter and its engines.
Trenta was under political pressure to take a position on the future fighter mostly to end uncertainties about the government’s intentions in military aviation, and possibly to compensate a major cut in F-35 orders feared by industry as it was a prominent plank of her party’s election platform.
Her successor, however, will feel no such pressure.
Italy already has a foothold in the British next-generation fighter project through Leonardo’s United Kingdom subsidiaries, which are already members of Team Tempest, the industry team led by BAE Systems in charge of the program. Leonardo operates seven plants in the UK. Italy has also been offered a seat by France and Germany on their competing SCAF/FCAS project, so there is no real urgency for Italy to decide which way to jump.
Both programs are at their preliminary stages and only time will tell which one is better suited to Italy’s military requirements, schedule, budget, industrial work-share and employment priorities. (Source: defense-aerospace.com)
05 Sep 19. UK most attractive European nation for aerospace manufacturing. A new report assessing the attractiveness of aerospace manufacturing investments by nations has ranked the UK, with revenues of US$46bn, within the global top four. While the country scores highly on labour skill and infrastructure, however, Britain’s economy and perceived geo-political risk could hamper investment in the sector in coming years.
The aviation and aerospace industry has put a period of severe turbulence behind it in recent years, following a sustained trend of high-fuel costs while growing competition forced firms to cut margins. The falling price of oil, growing demand from emerging markets, and considerably lower commodity prices have allowed the industry a period of breathing space – while consumers are subsequently benefiting from lower cost travel.
In the UK, the Government has sought to seize on this moment with a range of policies designed to encourage investment in the British aerospace sector. For example, in 2018, the new Future Flight Challenge initiative saw the Government commit up to £125m to develop new technologies such as drones and urban air vehicles, something which has seen its position as a leading aerospace manufacturing nation stablise in 2019, in spite of the sustained economic and political turmoil Britain is currently enduring.
According to a new analysis by PwC, the UK has a strong aerospace and defence (A&D) industry, with revenues of $46bn. This is likely to be buoyed by the UK Defence Minister’s announcement in July that the Government is investing £2bn through to 2025 in a next generation fighter jet, the “Tempest.” Britain is seeking international partners to provide additional funding for the project, which will likely further improve its A&D status.
The report from PwC subsequently found that the UK’s aerospace attractiveness ranks the fourth highest in the world – and the highest of any European state. Driven by the ability to access skilled labour, well-maintained infrastructure, and a developed and mature overall A&D industry, the UK is only bested by the low-tax Singapore, the geo-politically stable Canada and low-cost US.
While the reasons for the UK lagging behind these nations clearly varies, one common factor does bear closer scrutiny. All three of those countries ranked higher in terms of geo-political stability than the UK, and with the country’s aerospace production chiefly being an export industry, it may well be adversely affected by Britain’s exit from the European Union.
Chemicals, automotive and A&D are the UK sectors most dependent on the unfettered access the UK currently enjoys in the single market. To that end, consultants have previously warned that as single market access will end with a probable No Deal scenario, the UK is unlikely to find itself in a strong bargaining position, given that 45% of UK exports are to the EU and less than 10% of EU exports are to the UK. At the same time, Canada took eight years to reach a free trade agreement with the EU, suggesting any negative impacts of crashing out of the EU could be long-term ones.
Commenting on the findings, Roland Sonnenberg, Head of UK Aerospace and Defence at PwC, said, “We’ve seen a lot of speculation that uncertainty over Brexit terms and the potential disruption to global supply chains may impact the ability to attract global investment and meet production timetables. But this analysis shows that the UK continues to be a strong competitor when it comes to investment and expansion opportunities… The UK has a real depth of talent and capability in the sector, which remains well-positioned to support the economy as we continue to make a strong and vital contribution across global markets.” (Source: Google/https://www.consultancy.uk)
04 Sep 19. Shrinking of UK rotary power opens up capability criticism. From a statistical point of view the UK’s rotary fleet has dropped by 50 aircraft over the last three years equating to a current overall inventory of 322 helicopters, with more recent changes including the retirement of Sea King Mk7s and first deliveries of AW101 Commando Merlin Mk4/4As.
Much has been made of an Airborne Surveillance and Control (ASaC) capability gap left by the Sea King fleet being taken out of service. However, the contingency plan of using Merlin, Wildcat, E3-D Sentry aircraft and Type 45 destroyers is looked upon as a viable interim solution until the new Crowsnest ASaC mission system is fit for operational use with the Royal Navy’s Merlin Mk2 fleet.
On that front, progress is being made in a timely manner, with the first flight of the aero-mechanical part of the system successfully completed in March 2019 and electromagnetic compatibility ground tests of the transmitting radar installed on a Merlin helicopter, successfully completed at Qinetiq’s Boscombe Down facility at the end of August.
Further collaboration between the UK Ministry of Defence (MoD) and associated industry partners is set to lead to the Crowsnest capability being used to support a first Carrier Strike Group deployment in Q2 2021, preceded by sea trials set to begin in Q3 2020. On the issue of ASaC capability transitioning however, there is reason to suggest that the MoD – with a focus on managing its rotary-wing fleet predominately for the Afghanistan war effort – saw fit to deprioritise naval threats.
‘It’s always a challenge, particularly with a relatively small military force – which the UK is these days – to have a seamless transition from old [aircraft] to new,’ Grey Bagwell, President of The Air and Space Power Association told Shephard.
‘Sometimes you have to take a degree of risk and what you had during Afghanistan and Iraq, to a high degree, was the absence of a submarine threat and as that [capability] wasn’t a priority it got pushed to the back of the queue,’ he said.
Emerging threats post Afghanistan now mean that there is much for the UK to ponder at a strategic level, part of which will be defined by how helicopters are deployed during future conflicts.
‘You’re not going to be employing helicopter lift in an intensive war unless you’ve spent an awful lot of money on defensive systems and we know… that if it was a Russian type scenario, helicopters aren’t going to be as close to the front line as they were in Afghanistan,’ according to Bagwell.
Beyond worse case operational scenarios, he is also clear that it is now ‘time to accept the fact that [national] air platform manufacturing is beyond [the UK],’ qualifying the statement by adding that there is a ‘reattack’ with the Tempest future fighter programme – led by and including a number of British industry partners such as BAE Systems and Rolls Royce.
Royal Marines stationed in Afghanistan after being dropped to their Notwithstanding the loss of indigenous rotary manufacturing, the MoD is awaiting the replacement of its current Apache AH Mk1 fleet with the arrival of 50 new Boeing AH-64E Guardian aircraft.
The procurement is set to see the UK become the second largest export operator of the type behind Saudi Arabia, with first deliveries expected next year and all to be complete by Q1 2024, before an IOC milestone of April 2022 is due.
Attack Helicopter Command, an aviation unit within the UK’s Joint Helicopter Command, will be responsible for operating the new helicopters, with a raft of improvements strengthening capability and performance – compared to the Mk1 fleet.
Major component changes are to include: new engines, drivetrain, main rotor blades and better on-board engineering diagnostics, while the cockpit addition of a ‘revolutionary’ Cognitive Decision Aiding System will ‘enable pilots to prosecute targets faster,’ an MoD spokesperson confirmed.
‘For improved target engagement, sights and sensors on the nose turret and rotor mast have been upgraded to enable identification at greater ranges and also enhance aircraft protection,’ he added.
Separately, having commenced a three-month deployment with aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth at the end of August, there are signs that capability maturity for the Royal Navy’s Merlin Mk4/4a fleet continues apace, with delivery from Leonardo of all 25 aircraft expected in April 2021.
The programme itself has been delayed slightly from an initial final delivery schedule of December 2020, though neither Leonardo or the MoD has been forthcoming about the reasons for the change.
‘MOD and Leonardo have jointly agreed a programme which meets MOD’s operational requirements,’ a Leonardo spokesperson explained in a statement. ‘Many factors are involved in determining the overall schedule.’
MK4/4a structural and equipment changes are based on the upgrading of RAF Merlin Mk3/3A airframes, which includes a new automated folding tail and main rotor blade as well as new avionics, a fast roping system, roof mounted chaff dispensers and a strengthened undercarriage to increase maritime durability.
While these moves to refresh helicopter capabilities and reduce reliance on legacy platforms fit the mould of most modern air forces, there is a lingering perception that the UK’s rotary fleet has suffered fatigue post Afghanistan and could be exposed by adversaries should high intensity conflicts emerge.
Short-term, the issue of an ASaC capability gap will be put right but if the trend of a shrinking helicopter base persists, criticism of how the UK intends to adequately support international allied missions, especially post-Brexit where it could potentially withdraw from EU-based operations, can be expected. (Source: Shephard)
03 Sep 19. An unpredictable autumn: Changes across Europe could spell delays for industry deals. Just as Europe begins serious discussions about joint defense programs, Italy is scrambling to forge a new government, putting decision-making in Rome on hold amid Britain’s exit from the European Union and a change of guard at the organization.
Following the collapse of the Italian government last month, Rome is expected to have a new coalition majority in place this week, but the hiccup may further delay decisions about Italy’s role in Britain’s Tempest fighter program, European partnerships and purchasing of F-35 aircraft.
The uncertainty in southern Italy matches the threat of chaos further north if British Prime Minister Boris Johnson carries out threats to leave the EU on Oct. 31 without a trade deal, just as the European Commission awaits a new crop of leaders following the EU election in May.
“Defense programs are always prone to delays and cost overruns, but when they are joint programs, that risk increases — and now is a case in point,” said Aude Fleurant, the director of arms and military expenditure at the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute, a Swedish think tank.
Origins and options
Italy’s government upheaval began in early August when one of the members of Italy’s populist coalition government, the League party, walked away from the administration after too many policy rows with its partner, the Five Star party — ending the government’s parliamentary majority.
League party leader Matteo Salvini, whose anti-migrant policies have spurred his popularity after 14 months of government, hoped he could take sole command of the government through new elections.
But his plan suffered a setback when Five Star entered talks with its sworn rival, the center-left Democratic Party, to build a new majority and carry on governing without the League.
As a sign of open hostilities between the former coalition partners, Italian Defence Minister Elisabetta Trenta — who is backed by Five Star — sent Navy ships to escort vessels carrying rescued migrants in the Mediterranean Sea, much to the anger of League leader Salvini.
With the likelihood that ministers for the new Five Star-Democratic Party coalition will be sworn in this week, it’s unclear if Trenta will keep her post. Nevertheless, a new government will likely add further delay to Italy’s decision on whether to join the U.K. Tempest program.
That potential time frame adds to the months during which Trenta failed to decide on the program following its launch by the U.K. in 2018, despite pressure from Italian defense company Leonardo and behind-the-scenes talks between Italian and British military officials.
In the meantime, Sweden has signed up, raising fears Italy will miss out on technological work.
Trenta’s hesitancy may have stemmed from the fact that the party that put her in office, Five Star, has mixed feelings about Italy’s ongoing purchase of F-35 jets. During her time in office, the government prevaricated over fulfilling its planned order of 90 aircraft.
Someone in Rome is needed to arbitrate in the row between the Navy and Air Force over who should manage the basing of the F-35B, which both forces are ordering. Analysts warned that Italy could miss its chance to snatch F-35 contracts that Turkey is losing as it’s forced out of the program.
One analyst said tension could escalate over the F-35 if and when a Five Star-Democratic Party coalition emerges. “Let’s see who the minister is — that will make a difference,” said Alessandro Marrone, a senior fellow at the IAI think tank in Rome.
A second analyst said that by divorcing from the right-wing League and teaming with the center-left Democrats, Five Star’s skepticism toward the F-35 could become more pronounced. “I could imagine Five Star agreeing to pro-EU policies favored by the Democrats in return for blocking the F-35 program, or even agreeing to enter the Tempest program in return for blocking the F-35,” said the analyst, who spoke on condition of anonymity.
A source with knowledge of the inner workings of the Italian government said the Democrats might also sacrifice the F-35 to win an agreement to build a rail line in northern Italy that Five Star opposed.
Gabriele Iacovino, an analyst at the International Study Center in Rome, said: “Defense is always the last issue to be considered when a new government is formed, and the defense minister is always the last to be appointed.”
Five Star did make one reference to defense in an Aug. 30 list of 20 policies it wants to pursue in a new coalition with the Democrats. “Put an end to the sale of armaments to war-waging countries, and incentive the process of converting industry,” the Five Star party stated, suggesting that parts of the Italian defense industry would be turned over to the production of civilian technology.
But in a successive draft list of policies issued Sept. 3, the policy was missing, apparently dropped.
At the other end of Europe, Brexit is creating uncertainty of a different kind for the continent, said Douglas Barrie, a senior fellow for military aerospace at the IISS think thank in London.
“There are two kinds of challenge for the British defense community when it comes to Brexit: one is relationship management, the other about bureaucratic,” he said.
“Relationship management is in part how ugly the U.K.’s departure is, and for how long the atmosphere is soured between London and its erstwhile partners in Brussels,” he added. “The bureaucratic issues include problems regarding the movement of goods and personnel within defense companies operating in or across Europe, and the ability to access, or not, European research and development funding.”
That spells trouble for U.K. firms, but also for Italy’s Leonardo, which has 7,000 staff in the U.K. after buying up large parts of the defense electronics industry there.
If anything, Leonardo’s challenge is twofold: It must keep channels open between its U.K. facilities and European markets, but also with its sister operations in Italy.
“In the case of a no-deal [Brexit], how will Leonardo transfer parts and staff from its U.K. to its Italian operators?” said the source knowledgeable of the Italian government’s inner workings.
Speaking to Defense News in March, Leonardo CEO Alessandro Profumo said it would be crucial to know where the intellectual property for a product must be registered so it can secure development funding from the EU.
“There is also an upside since having a base in the U.K. could help Leonardo when it comes to deals with the U.S. and help counterbalance the hegemony of France and Germany in Europe,” said Iacovino, the analyst in Rome.
Furthermore, if political crises and Brexit are bumps in the road for Italy and the U.K., defense cooperation between France and Germany is certainly not going smoothly, said Aude Fleurant at SIPRI.
“The French-German plans for a sixth-generation fighter, FCAS, are being held up by significant differences over exports to the Middle East,” she said. “France is very unhappy over Germany’s opposition, and Germany is refusing to budge.” (Source: Defense News)
03 Sep 19. Future Conventional Arms Control in Europe: A Sub-Regional Regime in the Baltics. A new report by the European Leadership Network proposes a conventional arms control regime in the Baltic region to prevent military tensions along the Russia and NATO contact line.
In a new ELN policy brief for London based think-tank, the European Leadership Network (ELN), ELN network member Dr. Evgeny Buzhinskiy and Younger Generation Leaders Network (YGLN) member Oleg Shakirov, examine ways to reduce the risk of military confrontation between Russia and NATO in the Baltic region.
The authors contend that, when coupled with a lack of regulation of the maritime domain, an increased number of forces along the contact line between Russia and NATO in the Baltics poses a serious threat to European security. To prevent a destabilising build-up of forces and enhance maritime security the report argues that:
- Both sides commit to lowering the intensity of military activity in the region, with strict limits on the movements of forces and assets towards the ‘line of contact’ between Russia and NATO.
- Such movements could only take place in two cases: for defensive military exercises and the implementation of planned rotations of forces and assets.
- The proposed approach would require acceptance that asymmetries might remain, but that existing postures do not pose a major threat.
- A framework of confidence and security-building measures (CSBMs) to manage naval activity in the Baltic Sea, going beyond incident prevention, could be developed. These would include prior notification of certain naval activities.
- The proposed arrangement could draw upon the experience and achievements of the Black Sea CSBMs and negotiations could be held under the auspices of the OSCE.
The authors argue that steps to ensure military stability in the region are not only possible, but are mutually beneficial to Russia and NATO. Baltic States are able to address their security concerns through naval confidence and security-building measures, creating a regional security environment based on cooperation and confidence. Given the obvious threats to European security, Russia and NATO countries should be interested in agreeing constraints on the movement of forces in the Baltic region: This charts the steps to do so.
03 Sep 19. UK set to increase defence spending. UK Chancellor Sajid Javid is set to announce an increase in UK defence spending to above its commitment of half a per cent more than the inflation rate in this week’s spending round. Javid will use Wednesday’s (4 August) spending round to highlight the importance of the UK’s military alliances and underline the commitment to keep defence spending above 2.1% of the UK’s GDP as recommended by NATO. Ahead of the spending round, Javid said: “As we leave the EU, we are deeply committed to playing a leading role on the global stage. That means bolstering alliances, celebrating our culture, building new trading relationships and making sure we can act when needed to keep our people safe.
“We shouldn’t be ashamed of being proud of our place in the world – we are and will remain a great nation with fantastic assets.”
The Treasury said it was committed to ensuring that the UK Armed Forces were ‘world-class’ and the ‘best-funded in Europe’.
The spending review will outline the budget of the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for the period of 2020-2021. Currently, the MOD budget is £38.8bn, with the increase in funding set to raise the budget nearly £40bn.
The UK is also set to increase spending on diplomatic efforts giving more money to embassies and consulates across the world.
Forces Network also reported that the treasury would set aside £5m for the newly created Office for Veterans’ Affairs which it will spend on helping former military personnel with homelessness, medical treatment and job training.
During his campaign for leader of the Conservatives and Prime Minister, allies of Boris Johnson said he was committed to raising the defence budget, but fell short of saying by how much spending would increase.
At the recent G7 summit in Biarritz, Johnson reaffirmed the UK’s commitment to ongoing defence agreements, saying: “We will remain at the heart of the alliances that span the world. And we will continue to use the breadth of our expertise in diplomacy, defence and development to uphold and safeguard the global order on which peace and prosperity depends.”
NATO mandates that member states spend at least 2% of their GDP on defence, however, only the US, UK, Poland, Lithuania, Latvia, Greece and Estonia currently meet this commitment.
The UK has the highest defence budget in Europe and is the sixth-largest defence spender globally according to the International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS). Around 70% of all NATO spending is by the US, which is the world’s highest defence spender. This year’s spending round will be delivered in parliament on Wednesday with a multi-year spending review set for 2020. (Source: army-technology.com)
02 Sep 19. A European Aircraft Carrier: A Powerful Idea That Can’t Be Sunk? A German politician has floated the idea of a European aircraft carrier. Could it happen? Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer, who in 2018 succeeded German chancellor Angela Merkel as the head of Merkel’s governing Christian Democratic Union party, proposed the Euro-carrier in the summer of 2019. Kramp-Karrenbauer’s proposal came in response to French president Emmanuel Macron’s call for greater European integration.
Merkel herself in early 2019 endorsed the idea. “It’s right and good that we have such equipment on the European side, and I’m happy to work on it.”
It’s unclear whether Kramp-Karrenbauer wants to share a single flattop across several European navies, perhaps under the European Union’s umbrella. Alternatively, European defense firms jointly could produce a single carrier-class for different E.U. navies. European governments and industry already collaborate on major warplane designs.
At present, just two E.U. states possess aircraft carriers. France operates one carrier, Charles De Gaulle. The United Kingdom is working up a new class of two new carriers of the Queen Elizabeth class. The government in London could leave the European Union as early as October, leaving Charles De Gaulle as the sole E.U. flattop. It’s unclear whether and how Kramp-Karrenbauer’s proposal would affect France’s plans for a carrier to succeed Charles De Gaulle.
The current French carrier launched in 1994 and could require replacement as early as the 2040s. At the 2018 Euronaval conference, French defense minister Florence Parly said the Marine Nationale would define the new vessel’s requirements in 2020. The new flattop could serve into the 2080s.
R4″Key issues to be decided during the study period include whether or not the new carrier will be nuclear-powered like the Charles De Gaulle, and how to accommodate new combat aircraft being jointly developed with Germany,” Agence France-Presse reported.
The French flattop recently returned to action following an 18-month, $1.5bn overhaul. The Marine Nationale accepted the 42,000-ton-displacement, nuclear-powered Charles De Gaulle from the Direction Générale de l’Armement — the French procurement agency — in early November 2018.
“The 18-month overhaul and modernisation of the carrier in the southern French port of Toulon covered the combat system, aircraft maintenance facilities and the platform,” Jane’s reported.
“A new longer-range 3D air surveillance radar and more accurate navigation radars were installed, the networks were digitised, the control room was completely replaced and the telecommunication systems were modernised,” Jane’s continued.
The maintenance hangars, aircraft spaces and deck-landing systems were converted to an “all-Rafale” configuration optimised for the naval version of the Rafale combat aircraft following the retirement from service of the Super-Etendard Modernisé. The carrier’s automation systems and automatic stabilisation and steering control system were modernised, two units of the cooling system were replaced, the control simulator was refitted and one of the two galleys was refurbished. The French defense ministry announced that the newly modernized Charles De Gaulle and her battle group — three destroyers, a submarine and a supply ship — would deploy to the Indo-Pacific region for five months starting in March 2019.
During the deployment, Charles De Gaulle and her escorts will exercise with the Japanese navy and the militaries of Egypt and India, NHK World Japan reported. The 860-feet-long flattop normally embarks an air wing of around 40 aircraft, including Rafale M fighters, E‑2C Hawkeye radar early-warning planes and EC725 Caracal and AS532 Cougar helicopters.
It’s a problem having just one carrier. During refits, Charles De Gaulle’s air crews must find ways of maintaining their skills. It’s for that reason that most navies that possess carriers aim to acquire at least two of the vessels. France and Russia are alone among major carrier powers in operating just a single flattop. With their only carrier laid up for repairs starting in 2017, French aviators for the first time integrated with a U.S. Navy carrier air wing.
Twenty-seven French aviators and 350 sailors in April 2018 traveled to Virginia with 12 Rafales and one Hawkeye. After training on land, the French embarked on the aircraft carrier USS George H.W. Bush for at-sea training. David Axe serves as Defense Editor of the National Interest. He is the author of the graphic novels War Fix, War Is Boring and Machete Squad. (Source: News Now/https://nationalinterest.org)
05 Sep 19. SSAFA announced as official charity for DSEI 2019. Clarion Defence and Security announces that SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity, will be the official beneficiary charity for Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEI) 2019, the world leading defence and security event. The next edition of DSEI (10 – 13 September 2019) marks 20 years since the event was established. This notable milestone also reflects the two decades that DSEI has supported SSAFA.
Grant Burgham, DSEI Event Director, said: “Clarion Defence and Security is delighted to continue to support the vital work that SSAFA undertakes in caring for service men and women, veterans and their families. SSAFA holds a prominent position in the history of DSEI and we are proud to continue this collaboration for our twentieth year.
Sir Andrew Gregory, CEO at SSAFA, explains: “It is a great honour that SSAFA, the Armed Forces charity has been chosen again as the partner charity at DSEI, the premier event for Defence and Security capabilities. Two decades of partnership have been vital in helping us promote and raise funds for our continuing work to support serving personnel in the British Armed Forces, veterans and their families when need exists in order to create independence and dignity. On behalf of those we assist, I thank the event and all those who exhibit at it and visit it; SSAFA could not operate without your backing”.
As the DSEI charity partner, SSAFA will co-host the event’s official opening reception on 10 September 2019. The reception draws senior military and government officials from the UK and overseas, as well as many members of industry, providing the charity with unparalleled opportunities to raise awareness of the work it does to a global audience.
To organise a meeting with SSAFA during the show, or to find out more about how you can support the charity, please email James Grant on
02 Sep 19. Defence companies call for investment boost to head off no deal damage. The UK defence industry on Monday called on the government to invest in the £78bn sector ahead of a crunch spending review, helping small suppliers who would be hit by no-deal Brexit.
ADS Group, the UK trade body representing aerospace, defence, security and space firms, has written to Chancellor Sajid Javid asking him to “prioritise” funding which can be put to good use. The UK is the second-largest defence exporter in the world and 374,000 jobs depend on its prosperity.
“Budgets across defence remain challenging and it is imperative that the [Ministry of Defence] and industry work together to make best use of every pound that is spent,” said ADS chief executive Paul Everitt.
“There is a prime opportunity to develop a cross-government defence industrial strategy that looks to make the most of investment in UK defence and sustains military capabilities.”
Reports last week suggested defence is one area Javid could look to get tough on in his spending round, due to be unveiled on Wednesday.
In particular, ADS, which has 1000 members, said SMEs should be given VAT and corporate tax holidays, business rates relief and a boost to investment allowances to ease cashflows in a no-deal scenario.
ADS also said “urgent planning” was needed with banks to make sure small firms have enough cash and are not penalised for going into their overdrafts if there is no-deal chaos.
A recent ADS poll showed plans by members to increase spending were falling. Only 50% plan to increase investment over the next 12 months, down from 60%. UK aerospace companies have also spent £600m to prepare for no deal, stockpiling and legal fees. Other measures proposed by ADS include renewing £11m of spending on the Home Office’s Joint Security and Resilience Centre and extending funding for the Aerospace Technology Institute beyond 2030. It also said increasing budgets on the £10 m SC21 Competitiveness and Growth programme, which aims to boost competitiveness, to £24m would aid an additional 130 firms. (Source: Google/Evening Standard)
30 Aug 19. Turkish President Says Russian Fighter-Jet Purchase Under Consideration. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan is indicating that Ankara will consider its options, including Russian fighter jets, as it looks to upgrade its air force amid a rift with Washington that has halted the purchase of U.S. fighters.
“If the U.S. continues with the same stance on the F-35 issue, we will take care of ourselves,” Erdogan told reporters in Ankara on August 30 in reference to Washington’s decision to exclude Turkey from helping produce and purchase the United States’ most advanced strike aircraft.
The United States removed its NATO ally from the F-35 program after Ankara took delivery of Russia’s S-400 air-defense system in July. Washington says the S-400 could undermine the F-35 and is incompatible with NATO systems. Turkey this week received a second S-400 battery. Erdogan’s comments came just days after attending a military air show outside Moscow alongside Russian President Vladimir Putin.
“Will it be the Su-35? The F-35? Or the Su-57?” Erdogan was quoted as saying on August 30.
“We are exploring what measures we can take for our defense industry, for our defense,” he said, adding that negotiations will include obtaining loans and involvement in the production of military equipment.
Russian media quoted the Turkish president as saying that aside from the possibility of purchasing Russian fighter jets, there was the prospect of cooperation with combat and reconnaissance drones.
“We have taken certain mutual steps in this area,” Erdogan said.
Turkey was involved in the production of the U.S. F-35 and reportedly spent $1.4bn on the program before its order of more than 100 of the jets was canceled. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Radio Free Europe / Radio Liberty)
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