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04 Oct 19. Boeing’s F-18 jet may have a leg up in Germany over Eurofighter. The race between Boeing’s F-18 jet and the Airbus Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft to replace Germany’s Tornado fighter-bombers has tilted toward the American plane, according to a German media report.
That is after German defense officials received information from the Pentagon about the time needed to certify the Eurofighter to carry nuclear weapons, according to an article in the Süddeutsche Zeitung. Getting the Eurofighter approved for that mission would take between three and five years longer than the F-18, which is considered a nuclear weapons-capable aircraft in the U.S. military, the newspaper reported.
Germany has kept a subset of its approximately 80-strong Tornado fleet equipped to carry out the NATO nuclear-sharing doctrine. That means in the case of a hypothetical atomic war, German pilots would load their aircraft with U.S. nuclear bombs and drop them on their intended targets at the behest of the alliance.
While Germany’s nuclear mission periodically comes up as a source of controversy here, previous governments have left it untouched, portraying the largely symbolic assignment as a vital element of trans-Atlantic relations.
A spokeswoman for the Defence Ministry in Berlin declined to comment on the SZ report, saying only that American and German defense officials have been in “continuous conversations” on the issue.
The government is expected to announce a winner between the F-18 and the Eurofighter Typhoon early next year. In January 2019, defense officials eliminated the F-35 as a candidate, largely because picking an American plane would weaken the case for having such weapons be made by European companies in the future.
Such is the case with the Future Combat Air Systems program, led by Airbus and Dassault. Airbus says if Germany chooses the Eurofighter as a Tornado replacement, it would be easier for companies on the continent to transition to an eventual development of the German-Franco-Spanish platform.
The German defense minister’s visit to Washington last month put the spotlight back on the prospect of an American buy, however. “We want to treat this question jointly,” Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer told reporters in the U.S. capital on Sept. 23. She added that Germany wants a “gap-less” continuation of the Tornado’s capabilities, adding that she envisions a “tight schedule” for the replacement.
Airbus, meanwhile, doesn’t see the need to rush. With 10 years or so left before ditching the Tornado, the reported nuclear-certification time seems to still fit into the overall replacement schedule, spokesman Florian Taitsch told Defense News.
Plus, he argued, it should be expected that, when given a choice, the Trump administration with its “America First” doctrine would be keen to push American-made weapons over European ones. (Source: Defense News)
03 Oct 19. French 2020 Finance Bill: LPM Year 2. Presented on September 27 to the Council of Ministers by Florence Parly, Minister of the Armed Forces, the draft defense budget for 2020 provides a global envelope of 37.5 bn euros (€bn). Modernization of major equipment, job creations and innovation are the main thrusts of the 2020 budget. The draft budget is in line with the commitments of the 2019-2025 Military Planning Act, of which it is the second annual instalment:
— increase the budget by €1.7bn per year until 2022: the 2020 budget thus amounts to €37.5bn, an increase of 4.5% compared to 2019;
— raise the national defense effort to 2% of GDP by 2025: the 2020 budget puts the effort at 1.86% (against 1.84% in 2019);
— consolidate the financing of foreign operations (OPEX) and domestic missions (MISSINT) with a combined allocation of €1.1bn as of 2020. The draft 2020 budget standardises and secures the financing of these operations with an increase of € 250 m. In addition, €100m is earmarked for the MISSINT payroll;
— preserve the investment capacity of the armed forces, without major risk of calling into question orders and deliveries of equipment.
In favor of the military and civilian personnel of the Ministry and their families, the PLF 2020 includes several measures promised by the LPM: reinforcement of the categorical measures, continuation of the family plan, improvement of the conditions of housing and personal equipment. It also provides for job creation especially in the areas of intelligence and cybersecurity.
In terms of equipment, the PLF is accelerating modernization: two-thirds of the increase of €1.7bn is devoted to capability renewal and modernization.
The draft 2020 budget also pursues investments that contribute to national strategic autonomy and the building of a European strategic autonomy. Thus, it devotes €4.7bn to deterrence, for the renewal of both its naval and airborne components. In the space sector, €448m is allocated to renewing satellite capabilities.
Finally, in 2020, the ministry promotes innovation and prepares for the future by continuing the transformation and reorganization of its central administration.
In terms of research and development, the Ministry of the Armed Forces will devote a total budget of €5.5bn, including €821m for fundamental research — an increase of 8.3% — of which €105m is allocated to academic research and development and short-cycle innovation.
Key figures of the draft 2020 budget:
— €37.5bn for the Defense mission, an increase of €1.7bn (+ 4.5%), in line with the LPM, equal to 1.86% of GDP
— €2.1bn for veterans
— €1.1bn in OPEX and MISSINT provisions
— 300 net job creations
— € 14.7bn in commitments for equipment (+ 83%)
— € 80m for the family plan, € 120 m for military housing.
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/French Armed Forces Ministry)
03 Oct 19. Switzerland completes GBAD sensor assessments. Switzerland has completed sensor evaluation testing of the two downselected systems that are competing for the nation’s long-range ground-based air defence system programme. Conducted at Menzingen and led by the armasuisse procurement agency in collaboration with the Swiss army, initial testing took place from May to July 2019, during which the effectiveness of the Eurosam SAMP/T and Raytheon Patriot systems were respectively assessed, as well as the potential required maintenance and training to support their operation.
Subsequently, from August to September, radar testing of the systems took place, although no firings were conducted.
Each system was involved in ten missions and presented with technical and operational scenarios and presentation of flight targets, during which the aim was to examine the sensors in a Swiss environment and to check the maturity of the systems.
Swiss authorities will now assess the sensor test findings and generate reports on each, and armasuisse will issue a second call for tenders which will be sent to applicants in January 2020.
Both bids remain in the running for the contract.
Based on their second offer, armasuisse will determine the overall benefits of each candidate, which alongside a risk analysis will be included in the evaluation report that will compare the overall benefits and acquisition and usage costs over a 30-year period.
The Swiss government claims that it is likely that a winner will be selected by the end of 2020 or beginning of 2021. (Source: Shephard)
03 Oct 19. UK defence secretary wants to end ‘hollow force.’
- The UK defence secretary has made a bid to put the UK defence budget on a realistic footing
- Defence spending is set to get an uplift, at least in the short term, but these plans remain to be enacted
UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said he wants to end the “hollowing out” of the country’s armed forces that have led to recruitment shortfalls, equipment that does not work, and low stockpiles of supplies.
Speaking to a fringe meeting at the Conservative Party Conference in Manchester on 30 September, Wallace said he had secured acceptance earlier this summer from the UK Treasury (finance ministry) that the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review – which set in train several major equipment procurement projects – was “not properly funded”. He added that Ministry of Defence (MoD) cost-saving projections that have underpinned many of the review’s spending plans “were not realistic”.
Wallace, who was appointed by the new UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July, decried 20 to 30 years of “hollowing out” of the UK military, in particular of the army. “It is an iceberg,” he said. “Beneath it is poor recruiting, a shortage of pilots, kit not working, and low stocks.”
“Ambitions of prime ministers, secretaries of defence, chancellors of the exchequer [finance ministers], and generals have not been matched with funding,” he told the event.
This, he said, led to overstretch that was unfair on the UK armed forces, he said, adding that he blamed the current situation on a series of short-term decisions or the failure to make decisions. “We need to be honest to the rest of government that we need more money or [be] honest to the public about our ambitions,” he said. “The music is about to stop and it will not be funny. It’s about political leadership; we have to cut our cloth. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)
03 Oct 19. NATO-Georgia Commission Statement.
- The NATO-Georgia Commission (NGC) met at Ambassadorial level in Batumi today with the participation of the Georgian Prime Minister. Allied Ambassadors and Georgia emphasize the unique scope and depth of Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance. Allies welcome the substantial progress on reforms in Georgia over the past decade in consolidating its democracy and achieving stronger economic development, more effective defence institutions, and modernised defence forces. The new Georgian Government is committed to continue implementing these reforms.
- Tomorrow, the North Atlantic Council will meet with President Zourabishvili, the Speaker of Parliament, members of Parliament, and members of the Georgian Government. They will also meet with representatives of Georgian civil society. The official visit of the North Atlantic Council is an opportunity for Allied Ambassadors to celebrate the achievements of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP) over the past five years, which they have agreed will be refreshed and updated. They also intend to review and encourage Georgia’s defence reforms, its domestic political reforms and all aspects of NATO-Georgia cooperation, including matters related to the Black Sea region, and to discuss priorities for the coming period.
- Georgia is one of the Alliance’s closest operational partners, and an Enhanced Opportunities Partner. Allies highly appreciate Georgia’s steadfast support for NATO’s operations and missions, in particular its contribution to the NATO Response Force and its significant contribution to the Resolute Support Mission (RSM), where Georgia is one of the largest troop contributors. We recognize the sacrifices and contributions the Georgian people have made to our shared security. These efforts, along with Georgia’s participation in EU-led operations, demonstrate Georgia’s commitment and capability to contribute to Euro-Atlantic security.
- Celebrating the 5th anniversary of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package, Allied Ambassadors and Georgia praise the success of the SNGP implementation achieved through joint efforts by Georgia, Allies, and Partner countries. The Defence Institution Building School and Joint Training and Evaluation Centre (JTEC) are up and running and NATO supports their important goals and objectives. We welcome the conduct of the NATO-Georgia exercise in March 2019, with the participation of 21 NATO Allies and 3 partner Nations. This was the first time that the Georgian General Staff and JTEC planned and led a multinational crisis response exercise according to NATO procedures from start to finish. We are committed to building on this experience and the valuable support of NATO’s Joint Forces Training Centre continues as we prepare for the next NATO-Georgia exercise in 2022. Substantive progress has also been made through other initiatives. Allies are committed to continue providing support and have recently announced new assistance in a number of areas. The SNGP is bolstering Georgia’s defence reform efforts, its interoperability with NATO, and Georgia’s resilience.
- NATO and Georgia are ready to further enhance this cooperation. Building on the success of the last five years, Allies have agreed that NATO and Georgia should conduct a refresh of the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package (SNGP), to be delivered during 2020, to update and improve the package.
- NATO values Georgia’s engagement in, and contributions to, strategic discussion and mutual awareness, on security in the Black Sea region. NATO is further developing dialogue and practical cooperation in this context, including through the SNGP. In line with the April 2019 decision of NATO Foreign Ministers, a number of new steps have already been initiated in this regard. NATO welcomes Georgia’s offers to provide further logistical support to NATO and Allies. Allies have increased their support for Georgia, including training of Georgian Coast Guard boarding teams, enhanced interaction between Georgia’s Coast Guard and NATO’s Standing Naval Forces, port visits, exercises, and the sharing of information to enhance situational awareness. Allies welcome Georgia’s intention to work towards enhancing interoperability with NATO of its newly acquired patrol boats.
- Allied Ambassadors welcome the clear progress made by Georgia on defence spending and in implementing comprehensive reforms aimed at strengthening Georgia’s defence and resilience capabilities.
- Georgia reaffirms its determination to achieve NATO membership, one of its top foreign and security policy priorities, which is backed by strong public support. Allies reiterate their decision made at the 2008 Bucharest Summit that Georgia will become a member of the Alliance, with MAP as an integral part of the process; they reaffirm all elements of that decision, as well as subsequent decisions. They welcome the significant progress made since 2008. Georgia’s relationship with the Alliance contains all the practical tools to prepare for eventual membership, in particular the NATO-Georgia Commission, the Annual National Programme, and the Substantial NATO-Georgia Package. Allies recognize the significant progress on reforms which Georgia has made and must continue, which are helping Georgia, an aspirant country, progress in its preparations towards membership, and which strengthen Georgia’s defence and interoperability capabilities with the Alliance.
- Allied Ambassadors reiterate their full support for Georgia’s independence, sovereignty, and territorial integrity within its internationally recognised borders. We call on Russia to reverse its recognition of the so-called independence of the Georgian regions of Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia. We condemn the grave human rights violations taking place in these regions, their militarization, as well as the resumption of activities such as the construction of barbed wire fences and other artificial border-like obstacles along the Administrative Boundary Line. These steps violate Georgia’s sovereignty and territorial integrity and blatantly contradict the principles of international law, OSCE principles and Russia’s international commitments. We further call on Russia to implement the EU-mediated 12 August 2008 Ceasefire Agreement, in particular to withdraw its forces from the territory of Georgia, which are present without Georgia’s consent, and allow the creation of an international security arrangement on the ground. We welcome Georgia’s compliance with the Ceasefire Agreement and its commitment on non-use of force and call on Russia to reciprocate. Allies do not recognize the so-called elections held in Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia in June and August. We support Georgia’s efforts toward engagement and confidence building and welcome the Georgian Government’s efforts to implement the “A Step to a Better Future” initiative and improve the lives of the people living in the Abkhazia and Tskhinvali/South Ossetia regions of Georgia. Allies express firm support to the Geneva International Discussions, co-chaired by the EU, UN, and OSCE, and underline the utmost need for reaching tangible results on the core issues of the negotiations with the aim to pursue peaceful conflict resolution within the internationally recognised borders of Georgia.
- Our meeting demonstrates the depth, breadth and enduring nature of the NATO-Georgia relationship. Looking ahead, we expect the NGC to continue to play a central role in deepening political dialogue and enhancing practical cooperation between Georgia and the Alliance.
- Allied Ambassadors express their appreciation for the warm hospitality extended by Georgia during the visit.
02 Oct 19. Cyprus parades new Serbian-made artillery and armoured vehicles. A military parade held in Nicosia on 1 October to commemorate the 59th anniversary of Cyprus’ independence has demonstrated that the Cypriot National Guard’s rapid modernisation is ongoing with the acquisition of Serbian-made Nora-B52 155 mm/52-calibre 8×8 self-propelled gun-howitzers and BOV M16 Miloš 4×4 armoured multi-purpose combat vehicles. A single turret-equipped Miloš followed by four Nora-B52s (which were labelled as ‘Alexander TGS’ systems) were displayed in public for the first time. Speaking after the parade, Cypriot Defence Minister Savvas Angelides noted that the Cypriot National Guard is being upgraded and thanked a number of his guests, including his Greek counterpart, Defence Minister Nikos Papagiotopoulos, for Athens’ constant support, as well as Serbian Defence Minister Aleksandar Vulin for his country’s practical co-operation. While few details of Nicosia’s acquisition of Serbian-made weapons exist, Belgrade-based media have reported that Serbia has sold to Cyprus 24 Nora-B52s and eight Miloš artillery reconnaissance and battery command vehicles to equip four artillery batteries in a deal worth almost EUR50m (USD54.8m). According to the reports, the first battery of six Nora-B52s for Cyprus would be completed in August. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
27 Sep 19. US Congress Greenlights Poland’s F-35 Jet Purchase — Polish Top Brass. The US Congress has given its consent to supply US fifth-generation F-35 fighter jets to Poland, Polish Minister of National Defense Mariusz Blaszczak said via Twitter on Friday.
“The US Congress has agreed to export 32 modern F-35 jets to Poland. This is one of the last steps before inking the contract, but it does not mean that our work is done. We will do everything possible to get the best price possible,” he wrote.
On September 11, the US Department of Defense’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency responsible for military equipment supplies overseas reported that the US administration had made a decision to provide 32 jets and 33 Pratt & Whitney F135 afterburning turbofans, as well as additional equipment to Poland. The contract is worth $6.5bn. However, the Polish authorities announced that it was the starting price and that they would look to bring it down at the negotiations. (Source: (Source: defense-aerospace.com/TASS)
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