Sponsored by Exensor
02 Dec 19. Coming off a troubled year. The strategy for reading tea leaves of the year to come is naturally anchored in the lasting events of the year just passed. So then let us consider 2019. The year was, in many respects, one of messiness. The already tense relationship between Turkey and NATO allies got worse, leading to the decision by the U.S. to kick the country out of the F-35 program. High-profile program struggles plagued some of the largest defense companies in the world. Political turmoil led to leadership shakeups both in the U.S. and across the pond. Instability in the industrial base made advancements in technology by adversaries all the more troubling.
But there were also some signs of progress. Modern warfare capabilities — from hypersonics to artificial intelligence — transitioned from a footnote for only some to the everyday vernacular of most. More experimentation emerged in techiques for system development and acquisition. And around the world, countries from various regions grew more earnest in their desires to expand their influence and investment in global defense.
What can we predict, then, based upon this, for 2020? Global relations will continue to shift, no longer defined by existing alliances but rather by individual behavior and more self-serving demands. Elections stand to turn the current state of political affairs on its ear, whether it be for better or for worse. And competition will grow more fierce, driven by a shrinking industrial base and the fact that defense companies will need to look beyond the U.S. to find the most sought-after programs with the biggest potential payout.
Obviously, there is a lot we don’t know. Will NATO flounder or regain its footing? Will election results drive allies closer together or farther apart? Will defense budgets go up or down? And will the increasing use of hybrid tactics reshape both the forces of today and the systems of tomorrow? (Source: Defense News)
19 Dec 19. UK government to launch ‘radical assessment’ of Britain’s place in the world. The British government has promised an integrated security, defense and foreign policy review which it says will be the most “radical reassessment” of the country’s place in the world since the end of the Cold War.
Funding Brexit and the National Health Service got top billing as the new Conservative government laid out its policies and legislative proposals for the coming parliamentary session in the Queens Speech Dec. 19, but defense figured in its plans as well.
In briefing notes provided by the government, Prime Minister Boris Johnson said he would lead a security, defense and foreign policy reset this year covering international policy ranging from defense to diplomacy and development.
The commitment to hold the review was signaled by Johnson ahead of last week’s general election when he promised a “huge technological upgrade of security forces to keep Britain safe and strengthen NATO.”
But the briefing notes contained more than a hint that the government intends to implement some fundamental changes to costs and the way the department does business.
“The MoD will continue to invest in making radical reforms to modernize the way Defense does business, enable next-generation military capabilities, and sustainably reduce its cost base in the long term,” read the briefing notes.
Johnson may be leading the review but it’s his senior advisor Dominic Cummins, one of the principal architects of the general election victory, who is expected to actually drive the assessment.
Cummins has an uncompromisingly tough view of the MoD’s performance, particularly on the question of money-wasting procurement.
The potential impact he may have is causing great concern across the department.
One industry executive, who asked not to be named, said Cummins arriving at the MoD was a bit like having Vlad the Impaler paying a visit.
Defense consultant Howard Wheeldon, of Wheeldon Strategic Advisory, said if Cummings is asked to lead the review process, “my advice would be that he remembers that every newcomer to defense procurement starts on an assumption that it must be possible to save money and do better than the past incumbents that have presided over years of cuts.
“Oliver Letwin thought that when he led the disastrous 2010 strategic defence and security review from the Cabinet Office. But the reality is very different,” said Wheeldon.
In a speech to the Royal United Services Institute on Dec. 6 the chief of the defence staff, Gen. Sir Nick Carter, had his own advice about a review. He said it needs to be upfront about the state of the UK military and pointed to the government having previously taken risks with readiness and resilience in order to pursue efficiency gains.
Wheeldon said the government’s priority in defence should “above all else be to ensure not only that defense is properly funded but also that the importance of strong defense means that it is placed much higher up the government agenda.”
Britain’s creaking defense budget has again hit the headlines with reports Dec. 19 that a critical shortfall in funding could impact deployments and other commitments next year.
According to a Financial Times report, the Ministry of Defence sees the increasingly fraught debate over the future of Britain’s military take a new twist with a £1bn budget shortfall in the offing in the next financial year.
The newspaper says military chiefs held a crisis meeting recently to consider funding constraints which could ground aircraft and restrict deployments of support ships.
Recent leaks have seen the media report a mounting list of potential cuts to the military resulting from shortfalls to funding.
Mothballing or leasing out one of Britain’s two new aircraft carriers and reducing the size of the British Army are among the targets that have been in the crosshairs of officials looking to balance the budget, say reports – moves denied strongly by the MoD.
The defense budget financial year 2020/21 is set at £41.3bn, or $53bn.
Officials at the MoD have been conducting their annual budget cycle discussions to balance spending and requirements for the coming year starting in April.
The department recently secured an additional £1.9bn in funding from the Chancellor for next year, but that was short of requirements.
A spokesman for the MoD said the department does not comment on speculation but pointed out the “MoD manages the biggest defense budget in Western Europe and, like any large organization, regularly conducts prudent financial planning exercises.”
Talk of budget overspend will hardly come as a surprise.
The National Audit Office, the Governments financial watchdog, has been reporting for some time that the MoD’s rolling, ten-year equipment plan is unaffordable by several bn Pounds.
It’s a problem that the new defense procurement minister, James Heappey, will have to grapple with as a priority; assuming he is in post long enough to make a difference.
Heappey, is the fourth procurement minister since Harriett Baldwin left the office in January 2018.
In his favor is the fact he was parliamentary private secretary to Prime Minister Boris Johnson prior to his new appointment.
An ex-infantry officer who served in Iraq, Afghanistan and elsewhere, Heappey takes over from Anne-Marie Trevelyn, who has been promoted to Armed Forces minister. (Source: Defense News)
19 Dec 19. Portugal announces 2020 defence budget. The Portuguese government released the country’s budget bill on 16 December, which includes EUR2,445.7m (USD2,721.2m) for defence, a 23.1% increase from EUR1,987.4m in 2019.
EUR564.2m will go to the army, EUR447.1m to the air force, EUR485.8m to the navy, and EUR142m to the general staff. In addition, EUR315m was allocated for procurement, EUR7.6 m for technical co-operation, EUR13.5m for research, and EUR60m for foreign military operations.
Among the aims of the 2020 defence budget is to prepare the armed forces for the next decade and to boost the defence industry through co-operative programmes, including the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) in defence and the European Defence Fund. (Source: Jane’s)
18 Dec 19. US Lifts Cyprus Arms Embargo As Turkey Fumes. The US Congress has lifted a 32-year-long arms embargo on Cyprus, defying Turkey as it seeks closer ties with Nicosia at a time of renewed regional tensions. Turkey warned that the US moves to lift the arms embargo would undermine efforts to reunite the island and create a “dangerous escalation.”
The US decision “will have no outcome other than hampering efforts towards a settlement on the island and creating a dangerous escalation,” the Turkish foreign ministry said.
The Senate approved the measure as part of a massive defence spending bill that passed 86 to eight and already went through the House of Representatives, with President Donald Trump likely to sign it.
The United States imposed the embargo in 1987 to prevent an arms race and encourage Cyprus reunification. Critics say the step has been counterproductive by forcing Cyprus to seek arms from Russia while Turkey, a NATO member, has over 30,000 troops stationed in the Turkish-held north of the island since its invasion in 1974. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Financial Mirror)
19 Dec 19. The Queen’s Speech made in Parliament today sets out Government plans to:
- Increase tax credits for research and development, establish a National Skills Fund, and bring forward changes to business rates.
- Carry out an Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review, and to spend at least two per cent of national income on defence.
- Take steps to meet the UK’s target of achieving net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050.
- Work closely with international partners to help solve the most complex international security issues.
ADS Chief Executive Paul Everitt said: “We look forward to working closely with the Government on its programme, including on the industrial implications of its Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review and on measures to achieve the net zero target. Our sectors have an important role to play in addressing many of the most important challenges we face today, from climate change to raising prosperity in communities across the country. An increase in tax credits for research and development, support for world leading scientific research and the establishment of a National Skills Fund are especially welcome announcements for our industries.” (Source: ADS)
18 Dec 19. Funding crisis raises concerns on UK armed forces readiness. Military chiefs called to meeting on feared £1bn defence budget gap.
The British armed forces face a funding crisis that threatens to ground aircraft and restrict deployments of support vessels, amid increasing concerns about operational commitments as spending constraints bite. Gen Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff, summoned the heads of the army, Royal Air Force and Royal Navy to an urgent meeting this week to discuss a critical shortfall in next year’s defence budget. The gap, which one military official said was equivalent to £1bn in the next financial year, is exacerbated by financial commitments such as the F35 fighter jets, the world’s most expensive warplanes, and the new fleet of Astute-class submarines. The meeting comes as military spending is about to come under heavy scrutiny in a sweeping review of defence, security and foreign policy to consider future threats, led by Dominic Cummings, the prime minister’s chief adviser. “It was an emergency meeting,” said one person briefed on the talks. “There is a feeling among the chiefs that Cummings is coming to get them.” Mr Cummings has been a fierce critic of waste at the Ministry of Defence, especially the £6.2bn procurement of two aircraft carriers he has characterised as “a farce”.
Fears about the future financial stability of the three branches of the armed forces are potentially damaging given that having a strong and well-equipped military is central to the government’s projection of a global Britain after Brexit. “This is particularly embarrassing when, as a country, we’re meant to be coming out of the garage as a globally minded military investment partner,” said one former officer. I’m not surprised that the service chiefs are worried because it won’t be possible to make ends meet until we restore defence to a higher-level national priority Julian Lewis, Commons defence select committee While the MoD was granted a £2.2bn boost in September’s spending review, viewed as a generous settlement by chancellor Sajid Javid, this fell short of the £3.3bn that had been requested. The chiefs’ concerns are focused on a funding gap in the 2020-2021 budget due to a legacy of inefficiencies and the rising cost of programmes, one UK military official said. As a result, there will be a squeeze on day-to-day deployments and training activities, which will jeopardise overall capability and operational readiness. Treasury officials profess themselves to be baffled as to how these problems have arisen. Julian Lewis, a Conservative MP and chair of the defence select committee in the last parliament, argued that funding pressures would continue unless the government committed to higher levels of defence spending. “Two per cent of GDP is simply not sustainable,” he said. “I’m not surprised that the service chiefs are worried because it won’t be possible to make ends meet until we restore defence to a higher-level national priority.”
The funding gap for next year is part of a long-term financial crisis in defence spending. Last year the UK’s public spending watchdog, the National Audit Office, said the MoD’s plan for buying new equipment was “unaffordable”, with the department facing a shortfall of up to £15bn over the next decade. Number 10 officials insist the meeting of the chiefs was “not an emergency meeting” and, although the defence budget was on the agenda, it was not correct that the services were running out of money. Gen Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff © Andy Rain/EPA Prof Michael Clarke, a former director of the Royal United Services Institute and previously a defence adviser to the government, said the funding gap was causing increasing competition between the services, which are each vying for greater shares of the budget. “It’s been an open secret for some time that the army feels like it’s getting the worst deal,” he said. “While the navy and the air force recapitalised their equipment some five years ago, the army has been the last to do so and is feeling the brunt of the cash shortages.” The Ministry of Defence refused to comment on the meeting. “The MoD manages the biggest defence budget in western Europe and like any large organisation, regularly conducts prudent financial planning exercises,” it said. (Source: FT.com)
16 Dec 19. Defence expenditure up but spending in key areas falling short, finds EDA report. The European Defence Agency has today published its annual Defence Data report for the year 2018, detailing spending by the 27 EDA Member States. Total defence expenditure stands at €223 bn, representing a 3% increase on 2017 and marks the fifth consecutive year of increased defence spending. EDA’s report also finds that Member States are not meeting spending commitments in key areas.
Total defence expenditure returns to pre-financial crisis levels .
The year’s report finds that overall defence spending by the 27 EDA Member States has almost returned to pre-financial crisis levels, €225bn in 2007 compared to €223.4bn in 2018. This level of spending represents 1.4% of GDP and 3.1% of total government expenditure. Although overall spending fell by 11% between 2007 and 2013, since 2014 Member States defence expenditure is increasing in line with economic growth.
“It is extremely positive that defence budgets have almost fully returned to pre-financial crisis levels, with 2018 marking the fifth consecutive year of increased spending. Our report is evidence that Member States have put a renewed impetus into defence spending after suffering heavily in the years following the financial crisis. Nevertheless, EDA’s findings do paint a mixed picture in terms of European collaborative defence, with a worrying fall in both equipment procurement and R&T spending in a European context. While European collaborative defence R&T still remains significantly below 2008 levels, it is encouraging that the value and number of ad-hoc R&T projects under EDA is increasing”, Jorge Domecq, EDA’s Chief Executive, commented.
Shortfalls on collective spending commitments
Despite the rise in total defence expenditure, spending on fulfilling collective benchmarks has failed to keep pace. Spending on areas where collective benchmarks have been agreed namely: Defence Investment; Defence Research and Technology; European Collaborative Defence Equipment Procurement; and European Collaborative Defence R&T all still remain below 2008 levels. EDA’s report provides detailed analysis of how current spending relates to these four collective benchmarks agreed at the EDA Steering Board in 2007, as follows:
- €44.5bn on Defence Investment (procurement of new equipment and R&D), representing 19.9% of Total Defence Expenditure against a collective benchmark of 20%;
- €6.4bn on European Collaborative Defence Equipment Procurement, representing 17.8% of Total Defence Equipment Procurement against a collective benchmark of 35%;
- €2.1bn on Defence Research and Technology, totalling 0.9% of Total Defence Expenditure against a collective benchmark of 2%; and,
- €153m on European Collaborative Defence R&T, totalling 7.3% of Total Defence R&T against a collective benchmark of 20%.
However, among the 27 EDA Member States some disparities in achieving these benchmarks can be observed:
- 14 Member States spent 20% or more of their defence budget on investment in 2018, up from 7 states in 2014;
- 21 Member States now dedicate more than 10% of defence budget on investments;
- 8 Member States combined account for 96% of total defence research and technology spending, with the largest four accounting for 85%.
EDA collects defence data on an annual basis, and has done so since 2006, in line with the Agency’s ministerial Steering Board decision of November 2005. The Ministries of Defence of the Agency’s 27 Member States (all EU Member States except Denmark) provide the data. EDA acts as the custodian of the data and publishes the aggregated figures in its booklets.
All data is collated (“Total incorporates 27 EDA Member States”), and it has been rounded. Defence expenditure figures are provided in constant 2018 prices in order to take inflation into account and allow for a comparison across years. (Source: EDA)
10 Dec 19. OCCAR Director at EDA to discuss cooperation and bilateral roadmap. OCCAR Director Matteo Bisceglia visited EDA to discuss with Chief Executive Jorge Domecq bilateral cooperation and programmes of relevance to both organisations.
EDA-OCCAR cooperation has deepened significantly since the signature of an Administrative Arrangement in 2012. As privileged partners in the field of defence capabilities development, EDA and OCCAR share information on projects and programmes of common interest throughout their lifecycle, helping to guarantee a seamless handover in each case, with both parties remaining involved and informed at every stage.
Today was the second meeting between Mr Bisceglia and Mr Domecq, their discussions mainly focused on the state of play of bilateral cooperation to support key programmes and activities, including the Multi-Role Tanker Transport Fleet (MMF), MALE RPAS and ESSOR. Mr Domecq outlined EDA’s latest developments in these projects, notably the recent high-level coordination mechanism for RPAS ATI held at EDA and updates from the European Secure Software Defined Radio (ESSOR) workshops.
“I believe that EDA and OCCAR cooperation avoids duplication in the European armament field. We have to take stock and make use of the available resources, and OCCAR has 20 years of proven record in the successful delivery of complex armament programmes.
I am also convinced that together EDA and OCCAR, in line with our own complementary responsibilities, represent a real strong tool to launch and execute all sorts of programmes for the benefit of the European Nations”, Mr Bisceglia said.
Mr Bisceglia and Mr Domecq also discussed EDA-OCCAR interaction in areas such as REACH and the Military Airworthiness Authorities Forum.
“EDA and OCCAR are two important actors in European defence cooperation, our close relationship has been extremely positive for our organisations, programmes and defence cooperation in general, which have all benefited from each other’s expertise”, Mr Domecq commented. (Source: EDA)
25 Nov 19. EDA launches B2B Platform for industry. EDA today launched its new ‘B2B Platform’, an online tool which aims to facilitate cross-border partnerships between European defence industry stakeholders by allowing them to quickly and easily search for potential partners for defence-related projects and programmes. The platform responds to a demand by industry for improved networking possibilities as a result of the new EU defence initiatives which also impact and benefit the wider European defence-related industry.
The platform is in line with one of EDA’s core missions, namely to help strengthening the European defence industry and increase industry engagement in defence. It enables all registered stakeholders to post their specific and customised demands for partners, and also to reply to such requests. As the public search for partners can be commercially sensitive, the platform also offers the possibility to publish anonymous requests.
All information submitted throughout the application process will be notified only to the project owner who published the related request for partners as well as to EDA’s administrator. From there, interested parties can get in touch directly and discuss the way ahead. EDA’s service is limited to offering access to the platform without implication in the subsequent discussions and setting up of the partnerships.
How to get active
Interested entities can quickly and easily register HERE (via Chrome, Safari, Edge, Firefox). The user-friendly platform is also accessible under the Industry Info portal on the EDA’s website. The whole process of registration, publishing requests for partners or replies to these requests takes only a few minutes.
More practical information on how to use the platform can be found on this new EDA factsheet explaining the B2B Platform. (Source: EDA)
09 Dec 19. EIB signs Cooperative Financial Mechanism (CFM) arrangement. An important step towards incentivising and facilitating the launch of collaborative defence capability and research programmes in Europe was made today when Alexander Stubb, the Vice-President of the European Investment Bank (EIB), signed the programme arrangement setting up a Cooperative Financial Mechanism (CFM). The signing took place during a meeting with EDA Chief Jorge Domecq at the Agency’s premises. Initiated by EDA, the CFM was negotiated over the past three years. It is designed to overcome the recurrent problem of unsynchronised defence budgets in participating Member States which can hinder or impede the launch of collaborative defence projects.
So far, 10 participating Member States (Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, France, Greece, Hungary, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Portugal, Spain) have already signed the Programme Arrangement or declared their intention to join the programme. More countries signalled their willingness to join the programme in the coming weeks. Developed as a so-called ‘Category A’ programme of the Agency, the CFM is entirely voluntary. Member States can freely decide if they wish to participate, contribute and support projects.
Today, the launch of collaborative defence capability and research projects is sometimes delayed or hampered by the fact that defence budgetary availabilities might differ among partners, for instance for an unexpected budgetary restriction or a shift in national priorities. As a result, it happens that countries interested in a collaborative project cannot join or have to postpone their participation because the required funding is not approved or available at a particular moment. The CFM, acting as trusted platform offering mutual inter-state help, or alternatively outside support from the EIB, was established to mitigate this problem. It will enter into force at the date of the signature of the last country having declared its intention to join.
EDA Chief Jorge Domecq stated: “The Agency’s role is to promote and incentivise collaborative defence projects in Europe and to help create the right conditions for that. The CFM adds a very powerful instrument to our toolbox in the context of an enhanced momentum for defence cooperation fostered by the EU defence initiatives. In future, mismatching budgetary cycles or provisional gaps in funding should no longer exclude member states from participating in multinational programmes”.
EIB Vice-President Alexander Stubb commented: “Europe has to be at the forefront of the development of key strategic defence technologies, including AI and digitalisation. With cooperation we can improve EU efficiency and innovation ability and strengthen EU capacity to prevent and respond to hybrid threats. A lack of access to suitable financing solutions allowing to better synchronize joint resources is seen as one of the major impediments to the launch or implementation of defence related cooperative projects. This is where the EU bank comes into play. Via the CFM, the EIB can strengthen its lending in support of public sector projects, with, inter alia, potential investments in the fields of dual-use RDI of defence or cybersecurity technologies, including projects envisaged under the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation PESCO.”
Two pillar structure
The CFM will be structured in two pillars:
- the first pillar foresees the European Investment Bank (EIB) as the sole lender through the conclusion of bilateral framework loan agreements between EIB and the interested Member State having joined the CFM arrangement (CFM Member). To obtain the EIB’s financial support, projects submitted must respect the eligibility requirements set by the Bank’s lending policy, while the volume of the lending facility and the interest rate applied are negotiated on a case-by-case basis by the EIB and the interested CFM Member. The EIB involvement is supported and facilitated by the EDA which will act as the ‘Facility Agent’ on behalf of EIB under its instructions and responsibility, serving as a primary point of contact between the EIB and the beneficiary CFM Member in the technical assessment of the feasibility of each project;
- the second pillar provides for a State-to-State support facility, through a system of reimbursable advances and deferred payments. It can be used to support any defence related project. The facility is structured as a set of individual bank accounts which are opened and managed by the EDA under the control of the CFM Members. Within that pillar, any CFM Member can submit a request for financial support to other CFM Members being part of a same collaborative project. While the Programme Arrangement provides the overarching legal framework setting the general requirements and conditions for State-to-State support, the specific conditions of each advance will be set out in separate agreements to be concluded between the supporting CFM Member, the beneficiary CFM Member and the EDA, as facilitator.
The administrative and operational costs of the CFM will be covered by existing EDA resources meaning CFM Members will not have to bear additional costs for the management of the mechanism. Notwithstanding any financial support granted under the CFM, projects or programmes subject to such financial support will remain at all times governed and managed according to their own rules. (Source: EDA)
16 Dec 19. European defense spending rises, but new tech investments have stalled. A new report says European Union member states are not meeting defense-spending commitments in key areas. The report by the European Defence Agency (EDA) says there has been a “worrying” decrease in both equipment procurement and research-and-technology spending by the 27-strong bloc. European collaborative defense R&T still remains significantly below 2008 levels, according to the agency’s annual report for the year 2018.
Despite an overall rise in total defense expenditures, spending on fulfilling collective benchmarks has failed to keep pace, it notes. Those benchmarks include defense investment; defense research and technology; European collaborative defense equipment procurement; and European collaborative defence R&T.
Jorge Domecq, EDA’s Brussels-based chief executive, said the findings “paint a mixed picture” in terms of European collaborative defense, a trend he called “worrying.”
Jamie Shea, senior fellow at the Friends of Europe think tank and a former NATO deputy assistant secretary-general, told Defense News, “We found out at the NATO leaders’ meeting in London just a few days ago that European defense spending is continuing to rise. This has been confirmed today by the EDA in its report, and the 3-percent overall increase since 2017 will be welcome news on both sides of Brussels – both by those who look to reinforce NATO as well as those who support the goal of European strategic autonomy.
“But what neither side will welcome is the evidence that all this extra money is not being used fast enough to modernize Europe’s forces with new equipment and 21st-century technology. It makes the success of initiatives such as PESCO and the European Defence Fund all the more urgent if Europe is to remain a serious military actor in a more dangerous world.”
The year’s report finds that overall defense spending by the member states has almost returned to pre-financial crisis levels, €225bn in 2007 compared to €223.4bn in 2018, equal to 1.4 percent of GDP and 3.1 percent of total government expenditure.
Domecq added, “It is extremely positive that defense budgets have almost fully returned to pre-financial crisis levels, with 2018 marking the fifth consecutive year of increased spending. Our report is evidence that member states have put a renewed impetus into defense spending after suffering heavily in the years following the financial crisis.”
The European Defence Agency, an EU arm, said 14 countries spent 20 percent or more of their defense budget on investment in 2018, up from 7 states in 2014, and 21 nations now dedicate more than 10 percent of defense budget on investments.
Curiously, the new report uses only anonymous, shorthand descriptions for each of the member states.
Paul Taylor, a Brussels-based defense analyst, said, “The thing that strikes me looking at the charts is that this is a typically half-hearted exercise in shaming without naming. Member states are numbered, like anonymous samples in a blind tasting, to spare the blushes of the guilty. The second observation is that this is the last year in which the UK will be included. If, as I suspect, the UK is the member state that spends most on R&T and among those that have the highest percentage of investment in equipment, next year’s figures will look really dreadful.” (Source: Defense News)
17 Dec 19. EU countries not spending enough on defence research, says report. European Union (EU) member states are not investing enough in collaborative defence procurement and research and development projects, according to the European Defence Agency’s (EDA) annual report for 2018.
The report said that despite an increase in the overall defence expenditure by the 27 member states, spending in European collaborative research and technology (R&T) and other key areas remains below 2008 levels.
Total defence spending of the 27 EU member states for 2018 was €223bn, which represents a 3% increase on 2017 levels.
The spending marks the return of defence budgets to pre-financial crisis levels, the agency added.
EDA stated that the countries are not meeting the collective defence spending benchmarks previously agreed upon.
The areas include defence investment, defence research and technology, European collaborative defence R&T, and collaborative defence equipment procurement.
EDA chief executive Jorge Domecq said: “It is extremely positive that defence budgets have almost fully returned to pre-financial crisis levels, with 2018 marking the fifth consecutive year of increased spending.
“Our report is evidence that member states have put a renewed impetus into defence spending after suffering heavily in the years following the financial crisis.
“Nevertheless, EDA’s findings do paint a mixed picture in terms of European collaborative defence, with a worrying fall in both equipment procurement and R&T spending in a European context. While European collaborative defence R&T still remains significantly below 2008 levels, it is encouraging that the value and number of ad-hoc R&T projects under EDA is increasing.”
The report found that 14 EU nations dedicated 20% or more of their defence budget to defence investment in 2018. The amount doubled from seven countries in 2014.
Around 96% of the total investment in defence research and technology comes from eight countries. (Source: army-technology.com)
17 Dec 19. Dominic Cummings Seeks to Launch MoD Spending Review. Dominic Cummings is seeking to launch a review of Ministry of Defence spending and strategy next year, after concerns that the department has been wasting billions on misjudged procurement.
The anticipated review from Boris Johnson’s most influential aide comes amid expectations of a wider revamp of Whitehall operations and after he singled out the £6.2bn decision to build two new aircraft carriers as continuing to “squander billions of pounds”.
Although details remained sketchy, the prime minister’s spokesman confirmed the plans to hold the review: “As the PM announced during the election campaign, the government will undertake a new integrated foreign policy, security and defence review which will extend from the armed forces to the intelligence services, counter-terrorism, serious organised crime, diplomacy and development.
“This will ensure we are making the best use of spending to ensure all our security forces are ahead of hostile powers, terrorists and organised crime.”
Whitehall insiders said that the Cummings view has long been held by Sir Mark Sedwill, the cabinet secretary, reflecting a belief that the capability of Britain’s armed services does not reflect the £39bn a year that is spent on them. “Russia gets better value for money than we do,” one said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/The Guardian)
17 Dec 19. First F-35B to Take Off in Portsmouth Was Stranded on Carrier by Technical Failure. The F-35B jet fighter that yesterday made the type’s first launch from Portsmouth naval base had been left onboard after it was grounded by a technical hitch during initial sea trials on HMS Queen Elisabeth off the east coast on the United States.
While the five other F-35Bs used for the trials flew home in November, this aircraft “was transported across the Atlantic by the Royal Navy in secret while repairs were made,” the Portsmouth News website reported Dec. 16, and was revealed when it was parked on the ship’s flight deck days after HMS Queen Elizabeth returned to Portsmouth.
“However, a technical hitch left the jet grounded and cooped up inside the £3.1bn warship’s enormous hangar,” The News added.
The aircraft’s failure to fly home along with the other five F-35Bs had not been previously made public, and no information has been released as to the type of failure that caused it. The Royal Navy used the jet’s grounding to promote its public image by ignoring the technical failure and spinning the issue to focus on the fact that it was the first time an F-35B had launched pierside from the carrier in British waters, and building up anticipation ahead of the fact.
In a statement posted on its Twitter account, HMS Queen Elisabeth warned “Lightning is Forecast,” adding “Portsmouth: apologies for the noise: Standby for the first alongside fixed wing flight from us – and indeed the first launch of a UK F-35 in UK waters. Planned launch at 1230 subject to conditions.”
In a similar post on its Twitter account, Her Majesty’s Naval Base Portsmouth said “In around an hour’s time, for the first time ever in the Portsmouth Naval Base, HMS Queen Elisabeth plan to launch a UK F-35BLightning Jet!” It added “Ear plugs at the ready! Look out for the live stream on our Facebook page.”
A Royal Navy spokeswoman told The News that “Following completion of successful flying trials in the US, one F-35 Lightning remained embarked on HMS Queen Elizabeth in order for repair and maintenance work to be completed.”
The fact that one of six F-35Bs – 16% of the detachment — could not fly in further proof of the dismal availability of the Lockheed-made aircraft, whose low readiness has been criticized, most recently by the US Government Accountability Office. (Source: Defense-Aerospace.com)
13 Dec 19. Further Investment In Capabilities. With the decisions of the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag on Wednesday, a total of around 594m euros will be invested in the capabilities of the Bundeswehr.
This extends the service life of the Marder infantry fighting vehicle, procures additional Meteor guided missiles, maintains the capabilities to combat enemy air defense and increases the number of route clearance systems. Germany is also getting involved in a European digital radio development project.
Marder with a new drive train
New powertrains for the Marder armored personnel carriers are being procured for around 109m euros. A total 71 vehicles of the A5 and A5A1 mine-protected variants of the Marder fleet are to be converted. Together with the components that are no longer used, the supply of spare parts for the armored personnel carriers is guaranteed until at least 2030, after which they will be replaced by the Puma infantry combat vehicle.
More missile Meteor on the way
A further 100 units are procured of the Meteor medium-range air-to-air missile system; around 185 m euros are earmarked for their manufacture and delivery, including accessories. The Bundeswehr is thus fulfilling the NATO requirements for the Eurofighter air-to-air and multi-role operations.
Protect our air operations
In order for our own aircraft to operate safely in the airspace, enemy ground air defenses must be engaged. Among the European NATO nations, Germany and Italy play this role with the Tornado.
In order to continue to comply with the deployment rules with regard to target tracking and precision, the missiles intended for this purpose must be converted. For about 127 m euros, 85 High Speed Anti-Radiation Missiles (AGM-88B HARM) will be converted to the state-of-the-art AGM-88E Advanced Anti-Radiation Guided Missile (AARGM) standard.
Integration and approval into the Tornado weapon system will cost another 68m euros. This will maintain the “Suppression of Enemy Air Defense” (SEAD) capability in future.
Keep the road clear
Four vehicles fitted with a manipulator are being procured for the defense against Improvised Explosive Devices, and five troop vehicles and four detector vehicles in service will be converted at a cost of about 15 m euros. This also includes spare parts and adjustments to the sensors.
Explosive devices can thus be cleared and rendered ineffective, for example in streets, in order above all to avoid endangering soldiers.
Germany can now contribute around 80 m euros to the “European Secure Software Defined Radio” program. Tactical radio should become platform-independent and interoperable. France, Italy, Poland, Finland and Spain are also partners in this project.
The Bundeswehr is thus investing about 594 m euros to reinforce its capabilities. The funds released on Wednesday are based on the so-called “25m euro template,” which includes all procurement projects of the Bundeswehr whose investment volume exceeds 25 m euro. They require the separate approval of the Budget Committee of the Bundestag. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/German Ministry of Defence)
13 Dec 19. Dutch Defense Wants Four New Submarines. The Ministry of Defense wants to acquire four new submarines, and three companies are competing to build them, according to the so-called “B letter” that State Secretary Visser sent to the House today. Out of the four previously selected candidate yards, the Spanish company Navantia has now dropped out, leaving French Naval Group, Saab Kockums (Sweden) and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems from Germany in the competition.
Defense has opted for a long range, versatile, conventionally-powered submarine. The future four new boats must be able to operate for a long time, unseen and far away from the home base. Since none of the candidate yards came forward as the unanimous winner in the survey, Defense will continue to compete with Naval Group, Saab Kockums and TKMS.
In the next phase, the requirements, award criteria and weighting factors will be determined, based on factors such as best boat for the best price, risk management and the elaboration of national security interests and strategic autonomy.
For the design, construction and later maintenance, the Netherlands attaches great importance to the involvement of the Dutch naval construction cluster, including SMEs and knowledge institutes. “The Dutch naval construction sector must obtain the best possible position in the supply chains of foreign shipyards,” Visser said. “A good position as a supplier offers Dutch companies and knowledge institutes the opportunity to increase their own knowledge and skills, from which the Defense organization can also benefit.”
The Importance of Submarines
Submarines are of direct importance for the seafaring trade nation of the Netherlands. The most important characteristic is that they are almost impossible to find under water. This makes the submarine extremely suitable for protecting the maritime supply lanes, naval vessels and maritime infrastructure. This also applies to detecting and eliminating enemy ships, depositing and picking up special forces and gathering, analyzing and sharing intelligence.
“This maritime power makes the submarine one of our most important weapon systems. The Dutch submarine service is highly regarded worldwide with the Walrus class. That is why the Netherlands wants to replace these boats now that the end of their life is approaching. NATO is also pushing for this. Submarines are an important and much-needed niche capacity. ”
The current submarines (Walrus class) have been in service with the navy since the 1990s, and will reach the end of their service life in about ten years. The project involves more than 2.5bn euros. According to the current schedule, a contract must be signed in 2022 with one of the shipyards. Ultimately, the new submarines must have completely replaced the current Walrus class in 2031. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com)(Source: defense-aerospace.com/ Dutch Ministry of Defence)
13 Dec 19. Turkey, Russia ‘very close’ to second missile defense deal. Turkey could finalize terms for delivery of a second consignment of S-400 advanced missile defenses from Russia by April when the first batch will be ready to operate, Ankara’s defense industry chief said on Friday.
Turkey has already agreed to buy two consignments of S-400s, triggering a crisis with the United States and possible U.S. sanctions, but Ankara is discussing technology transfer and joint production with Moscow for the second batch, he said.
The United States says the S-400s are incompatible with Western defenses and has suspended NATO ally Turkey from an F35 stealth fighter jet program because it fears Russia would gain information about the jets through deployment of the systems.
Ismail Demir, head of the Turkish Defence Industry Directorate, said Ankara was still interested in buying U.S. Patriot defenses. Turkey had no preconditions, he said, but Washington has repeatedly asked Turkey to drop the S-400s.
Under the proposed sanctions Ankara could be blocked from purchasing F-16 spare parts, Demir said, which would relieve Turkey from its duties on intellectual property rights and allow it to resort to domestic production.
“If one of the parties change the rules of the game, the other party would not have to play the game,” Demir said.
TURKISH FIGHTER JET
Turkey wants to eventually replace its existing fleet of F-16 with its first indigenous fighter jet, the TF-X, and was open to international cooperation on the project, Demir said.
He said the initial plan was to use General Electric’s F110 engine as the starting point for planning the new jet, but the defense directorate was studying alternatives.
Turkey and Britain are close to agreeing on collaboration to build a new generation of fighter jet engines for the Turkish air force, he said.
The 100m pound ($128m) deal between Kale Group and Rolls-Royce was initially signed two years ago but in effect put on hold in March after failure to resolve differences over intellectual property rights and terms of production.
The main issue for Ankara was that development and production should be carried out in Turkey. “Rolls-Royce does not object to producing it in Turkey, and the existing differences over mass production and intellectual property rights can be overcome,” Demir said.
He said the structure of a joint venture which has been set up between Rolls-Royce and Kale could also be altered.
($1 = 0.7794 pounds) (Source: Reuters)
13 Dec 19. US to sell 12 Bell Viper and Venom helicopters to Czech Republic. The US Government has signed an agreement to sell Bell Helicopter-built 12 helicopters to the Czech Republic in a deal valued at up to $650m.
The Government of the Czech Republic is purchasing four AH-1Z Viper attack helicopters and eight UH-1Y Venom utility helicopters for the Czech Air Force.
The deal was finalised at a meeting between US Defense Secretary Mark Esper and Czech Republic Defense Minister Lubomir Metnar at the Pentagon on 12 December.
The proposed sale represents the Czech Republic’s largest military procurement from the US Government.
Mark Esper stated that the purchase will support the Czech Military’s efforts to replace the existing Russian-made helicopters.
The procurement of the US helicopters will also enable interoperability with Nato partners. Deliveries under the deal are expected to begin in 2023.
An announcement was made by the Czech Ministry of Defence in August about the selection of Venom and Viper helicopters.
In response, Bell Helicopter made a statement on Twitter at that time. The tweet read: “We are proud to acknowledge the Czech Republic’s decision to acquire the first foreign military mixed fleet of Bell UH-1Y and AH-1Z helicopters.”
The Czech Republic is looking to replace the ageing Russian Mi-24, Mi-171 and Mi-35 helicopters in its inventory.
The acquisition is also part of the modernisation programme of the country’s armed forces.
The UH-1Y Venom provides support to a range of missions, including utility, search and rescue, aerial reconnaissance, air-to-ground support, escort, and special operations. (Source: airforce-technology.com)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Home land Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company