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NEWS IN BRIEF – EUROPE

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07 Nov 19. Asked about NATO’s ‘brain death’, Pompeo hails “historic” partnership. The United States’ and Germany’s chief diplomats rejected French President Emmanuel Macron’s view that NATO is in a state of “brain death”, with U.S. Secretary of State Mike Pompeo saying the alliance was one of the most important in all history.

At a joint news conference in Leipzig, Germany, where the two were gathered for commemorations of the 30th anniversary of the fall of the Berlin Wall, seen as the Western alliance’s crowning achievement, Pompeo remembered his time serving in the neighbourhood as a U.S. soldier in the late 1980s.

“NATO remains a critical, perhaps historically one of the most critical strategic partnerships in all recorded history,” he said, welcoming Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer’s aim of having Germany meet NATO spending targets by 2031.

“I do not think NATO is brain dead,” German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas added at the news conference on Thursday.

(Source: Reuters)

07 Nov 19. Germany Must Play Active Military Role, Says Defense Minister. The German armed forces should be deployed more proactively in foreign missions, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has said. But a key Cabinet colleague warned against unilateral action.

German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer warned on Thursday that Berlin needed to take an active role in military engagements abroad.

Germany must “openly deal with the fact that we, like every other country in the world, have our own strategic interests,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told the Süddeutsche Zeitung.

Strategic shift

In a speech delivered later Thursday at the Bundeswehr University in Munich, she said Germany greatly benefits from the rules-based global order and should do more to secure its success. Kramp-Karrenbauer noted that when she travels abroad, allies often ask her if Germany could do more.

“A country of our size, with our economic and technological power, our geostrategic position and global interests, cannot just stand on the sidelines and watch,” she said. “Germany must participate in international debates and drive them forward.”

She said she plans to move forward with the formation of a national security council in recognition of Germany’s strategic interests.

‘Our responsibility’

But her proposal was met with caution from other Cabinet members. Foreign Minister Heiko Maas said the idea of a more assertive German military required robust support from European allies.

“Above all, we must define our responsibility on a European basis,” Maas told public broadcaster ZDF. “That means that we don’t just take care of our own issues alone, but rather that we as part of Europe play a leading role in competition between superpowers.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Deutsche Welle German radio)

04 Nov 19. EU Set to Allow U.S. Participation in Joint Defense Projects. The European Union is closing in on an accord that would allow the U.S. government and American companies to participate in joint defense projects, potentially removing a source of friction in transatlantic ties.

Donald Trump’s administration has repeatedly warned the EU about discriminating against U.S. companies as the bloc’s national governments press ahead with plans for more defense cooperation. The EU says it needs to develop its own defense capabilities outside of the North Atlantic Treaty Organization, with countries such as France being reluctant to grant access to outsiders to joint military projects.Following months of negotiations, EU government envoys in Brussels will seek a deal on Wednesday over a proposed rulebook, which would allow third countries to join, if their participation is deemed to add “substantial value” to the projects, according to a draft of the accord seen by Bloomberg.

Only non-EU countries with democratic systems of government, which respect human rights and good neighborly relations with the bloc will be allowed in, according to the document. These terms would exclude China and probably Turkey from defense procurement, but would pave the way for the U.S. and the U.K. to join, post-Brexit. Non-EU countries will have no say on how the EU will use the capabilities and the systems developed, while participation in each project would be ad-hoc and require a unanimous decision by the bloc’s member-states managing it. A single member state would have the power to terminate a third country’s participation if it has substantiated “concerns,” according to the draft under discussion, circulated to EU diplomats on Monday.While the bloc’s budget for joint military projects is tiny compared to the U.S., Washington has been demanding the right to participate both as a matter of principle, as well as on the expectation that the initiative will grow in the years ahead.(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: The restrictions placed on participation to the European Union’s defense programs by non-EU nations, as described above, are so restrictive as to effectively outweigh any opening.

In fact, the agreement seems to be devised to pay lip service to the US government’s insistence that US industry not be shut out, while ensuring that it effectively can be.

This is a favorable development for Europe, but the EU’s goal should be to obtain open access to the US defense market.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Blooberg)

07 Nov 19. France’s Macron questions U.S. commitment to NATO in Economist interview. French President Emmanuel Macron, in an interview with British weekly The Economist, warned fellow European countries that they could no longer rely on the United States to defend North Atlantic Treaty Organization (NATO) allies.

“What we are currently experiencing is the brain death of NATO,” Macron was quoted as saying.

Asked whether he still believed in the Article Five “collective defense” stipulations of NATO’s founding treaty – under which an attack against one ally is considered as an attack against all allies – Macron answered: “I don’t know”. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)

06 Nov 19. Germany commits to NATO spending goal by 2031 for first time. Germany will reach a NATO defense spending target by 2031, its defense minister said, missing a 2024 deadline agreed by the allies who are under heavy U.S. pressure to beef up their military budgets.

Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said Germany would spend 2% of its economic output on defense by 2031, belatedly reaching the goal set by NATO leaders at a 2014 summit, months after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimea peninsula.

“NATO is and will remain the anchor of European security. But it is also clear that Europe must increase its own complementary ability to act,” Kramp-Karrenbauer told a private event to honor NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg on Wednesday night.

“This starts with the defense budget. We need (to spend) 1.5% by 2024 and 2% by 2031 at the latest,” she said, according to quotes of the speech provided by her office, the first time she has publicly committed to the target to an international audience and weeks before the next NATO summit on Dec. 4.

However, she said the target was not because “others are calling for it but because it is in the interest of our own security”.

Only seven NATO countries currently meet or exceed the 2% target – the United States, Britain, Greece, Poland and the three Baltic states, Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia. Germany is Europe’s biggest economy, and the second biggest in the NATO alliance after the United States. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)

05 Nov 19. Germany to replace early Eurofighters under Project Quadriga. The German government is to replace its entire fleet of Tranche 1 Eurofighter combat aircraft under a new project revealed by Airbus Defence and Space (DS) on 5 November.

Speaking at the company’s Manching facility near Munich, Kurt Rossner, Head of Air Combat, said that Airbus DS is close to signing a contract with Berlin to replace the Luftwaffe’s 38 Tranche 1 Eurofighters under a programme to be called Project Quadriga. These early aircraft would then be sold to the international market before being replaced in Luftwaffe service by new-build Tranche 3 platforms that will include the E-Scan Mk 1 active electronically scanned array (AESA) radar and updated software.

“I would say that we are within weeks of signing the Quadriga contract with the German government – we are now in the final stages,” Rossner said, adding that the sale of these early-variant aircraft will deliver the necessary capacity for the Luftwaffe as it looks to replace them with the latest-standard models. The 38 aircraft comprise seven twin-seaters and 26 single-seaters, with options for a further five single-seaters. No customer has yet been secured for these Tranche 1 aircraft to be sold-off.

While the Quadriga-standard Eurofighter is geared at the Luftwaffe, Rossner said that Switzerland would be a good match also as it looks to replace its ageing Northrop F-5E/F Tiger II and Boeing F/A-18 Hornet fleets. Airbus has proposed up to 40 Eurofighters for Switzerland, with type selection by the Federal Council due at the end of 2020/early 2021. (Source: News Now/IHS Jane’s)

06 Nov 19. £1.5bn Fleet Solid Support Ships Must Be Built In UK Yards. Halting international competition must be first step to keeping work in the UK, says union. Reacting to the halting of the international competition for the Fleet Solid Support order, GMB – the union for shipbuilding workers – has today called for the ships to build in UK yards. Speaking at the union’s manufacturing conference in Belfast today, GMB General Secretary Tim Roache said that the Government should now go further and guarantee that all future orders for military vessels should be placed in the UK. The shipbuilding unions have long campaigned for the practice of sending orders overseas to be ended.

On Tuesday the Ministry of Defence published a critical report by Sir John Parker which said that the policy putting all shipbuilding orders apart from frigates, destroyers and carriers out to international tender is not ‘the right strategic approach’ and that ‘UK-only competition should be considered for future defence-funded vessels.’

Tim Roache, GMB General Secretary, speaking at the union’s manufacturing conference, said:

“This is an important victory but we are not celebrating yet. We will continue to keep up the pressure until these ships are being built in our yards, by GMB members, using British steel.

“The Government must now fundamentally change its approach and announce that it will keep this order and all military shipbuilding orders in the UK.”

05 Nov 19. MoD halts £1bn international tender for support ships. Hopes rise that major naval contract will be reserved for UK shipyards. The Ministry of Defence has suspended the controversial £1bn international tender for three Royal Navy support ships, raising hopes that the major naval contract will be reserved for UK shipyards. The MoD on Tuesday informed bidders for the contract to build at least two 40,000-tonne Fleet Solid Support ships that the process was being halted in order to ensure that requirements could be met. “It is clear that the current approach will not deliver the requirement,” the MoD told the Financial Times. “We are now considering the most appropriate way forward for the procurement project.” With a general election set for December 12, industry insiders said they did not expect the process to restart until early next year. The decision to halt the bidding will be seen as a victory for the three-year campaign by unions, shipbuilders and politicians to keep the contract in the UK. Three UK shipyards have fallen into severe financial difficulties in the past year, including Harland and Wolff, builder of the Titanic. Many regard the suspension as a first step to reclassifying the vessels to be exempt from EU laws aimed at preventing protectionism. “That is pretty much industry’s expectation,” said one person close to the situation. The decision to suspend the tender came after John Parker, the industrialist who in 2016 set out a plan for a national shipbuilding strategy, delivered a mixed verdict on progress so far in carrying out his recommendations. Our yards cannot compete against the unfair subsidies awarded by other nations, while our competitors would not dream of letting the UK bid for their contracts Ross Murdoch, GMB In a review published on Tuesday, he criticised the government’s approach on allocation of naval work to UK yards. Sir John said the UK had adopted a policy “contrary to [that] in most developed economies, where all defence-funded vessels are built in home yards and utilising their national supply chain . . . I do not, as an industrialist, believe it to be the right strategic approach.” The Royal Navy has long lobbied for the contract to go to an international bidder, believing that the vessels can be made much more cheaply in foreign shipyards, several sources said.

As a result, and unlike many other EU countries, the UK has not classified the support vessels as warships, despite the fact that they have defensive weapons. Under existing EU procurement rules, the contract must then be put out to international competition. However, under the terms of the competition, the MoD had the right to stop the tender. It could also have been controversial in the run-up to the election, with the Labour party already taking the position that the vessels should be built in the UK. The ships are required by the Royal Fleet Auxiliary (RFA) to supply the Royal Navy’s two new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers, and accompanying ships, with food, ammunition and other supplies when they are deployed around the world. A decision on the winning bid was expected next year. However, the bidding process has not gone smoothly. Since May, all international bidders, with the exception of Spain’s Navantia, have pulled out of the competition. A consortium dubbed Team UK, comprising Britain’s main shipbuilders, BAE Systems, Babcock International, Cammell Laird and Rolls-Royce, remained in the race. Recommended UK defence industry UK defence sector seeks clarity on ‘buy British’ policy The decision to halt the tender will now raise questions over whether the consortium will continue or the members will have to compete against each other. Much will depend on the conditions imposed by the MoD — for example, whether some of the troubled shipyards such as Harland and Wolff would be expected to participate, one person said. Unions called on the government to reclassify the ships to allow the contract to be awarded to UK companies without international competition. “The steel that would be involved in producing the fleet will provide a much-needed shot in the arm for that sector but moreover provide a boost to UK manufacturing which has been buffeted by Brexit uncertainty, said Steve Turner, Unite’s assistant general secretary for manufacturing. “This tender should never have gone out to international bidders. No comparable developed economy would have done so.” Ross Murdoch, GMB national officer, said: “Our yards cannot compete against the unfair subsidies awarded by other nations, while our competitors would not dream of letting the UK bid for their contracts. The government must now back skilled UK workers and our steel industry by keeping the Fleet Solid Support contract in the UK and reserving future awards for our own yards.” (Source: FT.com)

30 Oct 19. French Mergers: Commission Opens In-Depth Investigation into Proposed Acquisition of Chantiers de l’Atlantique by Fincantieri. The European Commission has opened an in-depth investigation to assess the proposed acquisition of Chantiers de l’Atlantique by Fincantieri, under the EU Merger Regulation. The Commission is concerned that the transaction may reduce competition in the global cruise shipbuilding market.

Commissioner Margrethe Vestager, responsible for competition policy, said: “Demand for cruise ships is booming globally. Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Fincantieri are two global leaders in this sector. This is why we will carefully assess whether the proposed transaction would negatively affect competition in the construction of cruise ships to the detriment of the millions of Europeans taking cruise holidays every year.”

The Commission’s preliminary competition concerns

At this stage, the Commission is concerned that the proposed transaction may remove Chantiers de l’Atlantique as an important competitive force in an already concentrated and capacity-constrained market. The Commission has identified high barriers to entry in this market, related to the very complex nature of cruise shipbuilding. Cruise shipbuilding requires, in particular, specific infrastructure, established engineering and design capabilities as well as important project management skills to coordinate hundreds of suppliers and sub-contractors all along the construction process.

The Commission has preliminarily concluded that it is unlikely that a timely and credible entry from other shipbuilders would counteract the possible negative effects of the transaction. The transaction may therefore significantly reduce competition in the market for cruise shipbuilding, which could lead to higher prices, less choice and reduced incentives to innovate.

The Commission has also preliminarily concluded that large customers would not have sufficient buyer power to counteract any risk of price increases as a result of the transaction.

The Commission will now carry out an in-depth investigation into the effects of the proposed transaction to determine whether it is likely to significantly reduce effective competition.

The transaction was notified to the Commission on 25 September 2019. Chantiers de l’Atlantique and Fincantieri have decided not to submit commitments during the initial investigation to address the Commission’s preliminary concerns. The Commission now has 90 working days, until 17 March 2020, to take a decision. The opening of an in-depth investigation does not prejudge the outcome of the investigation.

Companies and products

Chantiers de l’Atlantique is a French shipbuilding company mainly active in the construction of cruise ships and the provision of related services to ship owners. The bulk of its capital is held by the Agence des participations de l’État (the French Government Shareholding Agency). Chantiers de l’Atlantique’s shipyard is located in Saint-Nazaire, France.

Fincantieri is an Italian shipbuilding group mainly active in the design and construction of cruise ships, merchant vessels, military vessels and specialised high-end offshore vessels. It also provides services to ship-owners and designs and manufactures certain mechanical equipment. The bulk of Fincantieri’s capital is held by Cassa depositi e prestiti, which is majority-owned by the Italian State. Fincantieri is Europe’s largest shipbuilder.

Referral request

On 8 January 2019, the Commission accepted a request from France and Germany to assess the acquisition of Chantiers de l’Atlantique by Fincantieri under the EU Merger Regulation. The proposed transaction was initially notified to France and Germany for regulatory clearance, as the transaction did not meet the turnover thresholds of the EU Merger Regulation. France and Germany submitted a referral request to the Commission pursuant to Article 22(1) of the EU Merger regulation.

Merger control and procedure

The Commission has the duty to assess mergers and acquisitions that have been referred to it by EU Member States and to prevent concentrations that would significantly impede effective competition in the EEA or any substantial part of it.

The vast majority of notified mergers do not pose competition problems and are cleared after a routine review. From the moment a transaction is notified, the Commission generally has 25 working days to decide whether to grant approval (Phase I) or to start an in-depth investigation (Phase II).

In addition to the current transaction, there are three ongoing Phase II merger investigations: the proposed creation of two joint ventures by Boeing and Embraer, the proposed acquisition of Lotos by PKN Orlen and the proposed acquisition of Bonnier Broadcasting by Telia Company.

More information will be available on the Commission’s competition website, in the Commission’s public case register under the case number M.9162. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/European Commission)

04 Nov 19. UK Shipbuilding: Government’s Own Review Backs Campaign To Build Them In Britain. Ministers have tried to ‘bury critical report,’ says GMB Union. The Government must act of the recommendations on its own review by backing the UK’s struggling shipbuilding industry, GMB the union for shipbuilding workers has said.

The Ministry of Defence has published the undated review by Sir John Parker, the former Chief Executive of shipbuilding firms Harland & Wolff and Babcock, on the night before Parliament is dissolved. Parker had been commissioned to write a review of the Government’s National Shipbuilding Strategy.

The report is critical of the Government’s procurement policy.  It concludes that the Government’s policy of putting all shipbuilding orders apart from frigates, destroyers and carriers out to international tender is not ‘the right strategic approach.’

The document goes on to say that ‘UK-only competition should be considered for future defence-funded vessels.’

The Appledore shipyard closed earlier this year due to a lack of work, and shipbuilding jobs have been placed under threat at other yards across the UK. The state-owned Spanish company Navantia is thought to be the front-runner in the £1.5bn competition to build up to three Fleet Solid Support ships for the Royal Fleet Auxiliary.

Ross Murdoch, GMB National Officer, said: “This report by the Government’s own adviser leaves no room for doubt – it was a catastrophic mistake to put a string of shipbuilding orders out to the global market. Our yards cannot compete against the unfair subsidies awarded by other nations while our competitors would not dream of letting the UK bid for their contracts. The Government must now back skilled UK workers and our steel industry by keeping the £1.5bn Fleet Solid Support contract in the UK and reserving future awards for our own yards. nstead of trying to bury this critical report Ministers must listen to Sir John Parker and back our industry, instead of selling our future overseas.”

04 Nov 19. Turkey says delivery of second Russian S-400 batch may be delayed. Delivery of a second batch of Russian S-400 missile defence systems to Turkey may be delayed beyond a planned 2020 timeline by talks on technology sharing and joint production, the head of Turkey’s Defence Industry Directorate said on Monday. NATO allies Turkey and the United States have been at loggerheads over the purchase of the S-400 system, which Washington says is not compatible with NATO defences and poses a threat to its Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets.

Despite Washington’s warnings and threats of U.S. sanctions, Turkey started taking delivery of the first S-400 batch in July. In response, Washington has removed Turkey from the F-35 programme, in which Ankara was a manufacturer and buyer.

Washington still hopes to persuade its ally to “walk away” from the Russian systems.

“We are planning a timeline for next year. As opposed to the first (batch), there is joint production and technology transfer here. It is beyond the ‘let’s buy it quickly and install it’ of the first system,” Ismail Demir told broadcaster NTV.

“The joint production concept may move the timeline. We have some sensitivities regarding some of the production being here. Technical work continues,” he said.

Despite the threat of U.S. sanctions over Ankara’s move to buy the Russian systems, Turkey has indicated it could procure Russian fighter jets if the United States refuses to deliver the F-35 jets it has purchased.

On Monday, Demir said Russia had offered to sell Turkey its Su-35 fighter jets.

“There is an offer and we are evaluating it. There cannot be such a thing as ‘we’re buying tomorrow’ in such matters. The offer’s financial and strategic aspects will be examined, there cannot be an immediate decision,” Demir said.

“It would not be right to say ‘the F-35 era is closed, the Su-35 era is beginning’, but we will evaluate the offer,” he said.

Ties between Ankara and Washington have been strained over issues such as Turkey’s offensive into northeastern Syria. Turkey has also been outraged over a decision by the U.S. House of Representatives to support sanctions on Ankara over its incursion and to recognise the mass killings of Armenians by the Ottoman Empire as “genocide”.

Despite this, Demir said Turkey was still open to offers by the United States to buy U.S. Patriot missile defence systems as long as they met Ankara’s conditions. (Source: Reuters)

04 Nov 19. FCAS partners report good concept-study progress, expect demonstrator phase to begin shortly. France, Germany, and Spain are progressing well with the Joint Concept Study (JCS) for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF) programme, and are on track to launch the demonstrator phase in the coming weeks.

Speaking on the opening day of the Airbus Defence and Space (DS) Trade Media Briefing 2019 at the company’s Donauworth facility near Munich, Bruno Fichefeux, the head of the FCAS programme for Airbus DS, said that the three partners are “well on the way” with the JCS that was began in January 2019, and that the demonstrator phase is on course to begin in early 2020. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

04 Nov 19. UK project sign-offs hit by general election. Multi-billion-pound projects to build new frigates and hundreds of armoured vehicles for the UK armed forces will now have to wait for final sign-off until after the country’s general election on 12 December.

Ministry of Defence (MoD) officials and ministers had indicated that projects to buy Type 31e General Purpose Frigates and Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles would move to contract award by mid-December but this has now been put on hold. Rules preventing government contract award announcements during UK election campaign periods, known as ‘purdah’, are expected to kick in on 5 November after the parliamentary bill calling the election became law on 31 October. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

01 Nov 19. Turkey set to ‘go Russian’ and acquire Sukhois to take place of F-35. Key Points:

  • Turkey looks set to buy Russian Su-35s and Su-57s, having been ejected from the US-led F-35 programme
  • Ankara has reportedly been offered its own variant of the Su-57

Turkey, now ejected from the Lockheed Martin F-35 programme, may be poised to make a major change in procurement policy and acquire advanced fighters from Russia. Such a decision would align with a previous Turkish procurement in which US and other NATO-nation air defence systems were rejected in favour of the Russian Almaz-Antei S-400.

That S-400 purchase is what initially led to Turkey being pushed out of the F-35 project over concerns that Turkey’s operation of the S-400 could put radar signals analysis of the F-35 in the hands of the Russians.

Turkish news outlets have reported that negotiations between Moscow and Ankara on the purchase of the Sukhoi Su-35 ‘Super Flanker’ began shortly after Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan and Russian President Vladimir Putin held one-to-one discussions at the August 2019 Moscow Air Show. The negotiations reportedly took two months to finalise.

That said, as recently as 29 October Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar was denying any Su-35 deal, reportedly maintaining, “We are F-35 partners, and we say give us what is rightfully ours.”

The initial Russian proposal was that Turkey join the Su-57 programme to replace its F-35 acquisition plans. This idea was initially declined, with a Turkish counterproposal including two streams of activity. The first was the acquisition of 36 Su-35s, with a contract signing to be announced by the end of this year. Turkish interest in the Su-35 has been partially based on evaluation of its performance in the Russian air campaign over Syria. (Source: IHS Jane’s)

04 Nov 19. Green beret is the sole survivor as Royal Marines get a modern makeover. The Royal Marines are in line to receive fresh uniforms, new weapons and an expanded global role as the corps undergoes a significant modernisation programme. Only the distinctive green beret worn by commandos has been guaranteed to survive as the Ministry of Defence carries out a review of the 6,700-strong force.

Proposals to alter the elite unit’s camouflage combat gear are being considered. Marines are also experimenting with lightweight body armour that is more suitable for their specialist activities, such as scaling cliffs, than the heavier kit worn by the British army.

The Colt Canada C8, already available for some specialist Marine units, will replace the SA80 as the standard issue rifle. Options to use a variant with a suppressor which muzzles the sound of gunfire are being explored.

Marines are also testing a new holographic sight that allows them to fire a rifle with both eyes open, line up shots quicker and improve the accuracy of their aim.

The restructuring of the unit could see the system of ranks switched to match the navy instead of the army. This idea however, was met with scorn by former commando officers, who believe it would override the unit’s unique identity.

Under the proposal, which was first floated last month, captains in the Marines would become lieutenants and brigadiers become commodores. Service chiefs insisted that no final decision had been made but warned that all aspects of the force were up for reconfiguration.

Major-General Matt Holmes, commandant general of the Royal Marines, told the Sunday Express: “The scale and ambition of our transformation is significant. Nothing is off limits and we aspire to be at the cutting edge of defence.”

Commandos are set to work more closely with British special forces, providing support from littoral strike ships stationed off nations around the Gulf and Mediterranean. Gavin Williamson, the former defence secretary, pioneered the concept of littoral ships, which can be cheaply converted from civilian ferries to convey aircraft, fast boats and elite personnel. The MoD has committed funding for two of these ships so far, each expected to carry 120 commandos and up to six helicopters.

The Royal Marines will increasingly deploy in smaller groups to conduct special operations as part of their modernisation. The plan is said to have been inspired by changes afoot in the US Marine Corps.

Other parts of the unit’s warfighting arm will mirror the operations of 42 Commando, the specialist maritime unit which deploys small teams to counter piracy and protect shipping.

  • Hundreds of jobs are at risk after the privatisation of the Ministry of Defence’s fire and rescue services, according to a leaked Whitehall document. Capita signed a £525m, 12-year contract with the MoD last year amid concerns from union leaders and the Labour Party over the company’s financial strength. From next year Capita will operate 53 fire stations at bases in the UK and overseas, including Cyprus and the Falkland Islands. However, a Treasury clearance note seen by The Times and dated January 2018, states that up to 224 of the 500 civilian staff “are at risk of redundancy”. (Source: The Times)

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