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22 Feb 18. Canada Releases List of Eligible Future Fighter Suppliers. Canada has taken another step towards building a highly capable, flexible military with the ability to operate closely with allies and partners and to protect the safety and security of Canadians. Today, the Government of Canada published a list of eligible suppliers that will be invited to submit proposals under the competition to replace Canada’s fighter fleet. The suppliers consist of foreign governments and fighter aircraft manufacturers that will be invited to participate in formal engagement activities over the coming months. This competition was launched in December 2017 and the activities will continue until spring 2019, when the Government of Canada will invite eligible suppliers to submit proposals. Only those suppliers on the list published today will be eligible to submit proposals. Proposals will be rigorously assessed on cost, technical requirements and economic benefits. The Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy will also be applied, requiring the winning supplier to make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract.
The evaluation of bids will also include an assessment of bidders’ impact on Canada’s economic interests. Engagement with stakeholders and industry on this new criteria, as well as guidelines for its application as an ongoing procurement tool for major projects, are being conducted through separate consultations. Officials have already met with aerospace and defence industry associations and will continue to engage with various stakeholders on further refining this criteria over the coming months. This procurement project represents the most significant investment in the Royal Canadian Air Force in more than 30 years.
“We are pleased with the responses received from foreign governments and commercial entities that have the ability to meet Canada’s needs. Our government is confident this will result in a robust competition, providing good value to Canadians and the Canadian economy,” said Carla Qualtrough, Minister of Public Services and Procurement.
“Our women and men in uniform must be provided with the necessary equipment to fulfill their demanding, and sometimes dangerous, missions. The work we have done and the work we continue to do on the future fighter procurement helps ensure we get the right equipment at the right price to support these important missions,” said Harjit S. Sajjan, Minister of National Defence.
“The Government of Canada is leveraging procurement to create jobs, drive innovation and grow small businesses. Thanks to the Industrial and Technological Benefits Policy, winning suppliers will make investments in Canada equal to the value of the contract. This is a once-in-a-generation opportunity to drive investment in innovation and research across all sectors of our economy, including with post-secondary institutions,” said Navdeep Bains, Minister of Innovation, Science and Economic Development.
— On December 12, 2017, the Government of Canada launched an open and transparent competition to permanently replace Canada’s fighter fleet. Canada will purchase 88 advanced fighter aircraft, as outlined in Strong, Secure, Engaged: Canada’s Defence Policy.
— A contract award is anticipated in the 2021 or 2022, with the first replacement aircraft expected to be delivered in 2025. These timelines are consistent with international experience for a procurement of this size and complexity.
— Other entities may be added to supplier teams on the list at any time during the process, subject to approval by the Government of Canada.
— Canada will continue to engage industry stakeholders to gather and share general information related to this procurement. This will ensure the Canadian aerospace and defence industries are well-positioned to participate.
— Aerospace is one of the most innovative and export-driven industries in Canada and adds $28bn annually in gross domestic product to Canada’s economy. Together, Canada’s aerospace and defence industries contribute more than 240,000 quality jobs. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Public Services and Procurement Canada)
23 Feb 18. EU, Sahel countries reach €400m funding for military force. A joint military force tasked with enforcing security in Africa’s Sahel region has hit a funding target of €400m after strong backing from European and Gulf states and the US. The 5,000-strong G5 Sahel unit from countries mostly strung between western Africa’s tropical coast and northern deserts passed the goal thanks to more than €100m in extra pledges at a summit in Brussels on Friday. The meeting between European leaders and top officials from Burkina Faso, Chad, Mali, Mauritania, and Niger is a sign of how terrorism and migration have driven the Sahel up the EU agenda. France has long targeted Islamic militants in the region through its pan-regional Operation Barkhane, which has deployed 4,000 troops supported by drones, fighter jets and helicopters. (Source: FT.com)
22 Feb 18. Boeing, Lockheed interested in launching rockets from Brazil, minister says. Brazil’s defence minister said on Thursday that Boeing, Lockheed Martin, SpaceX and other U.S. aerospace companies have expressed interest in launching rockets from its Alcantara military base near the equator and visited the site in December.
“They were very impressed,” Defense Minister Raul Jungmann told reporters. “They showed interest, but I can’t say whether it will materialise.”
Alcantara’s location makes it attractive because one-fifth less fuel is used to launch satellites into orbit along the equator compared with sites farther north or south.
Besides SpaceX, Lockheed Martin Corp and Boeing Co, the Alcantara visit included smaller aerospace U.S. companies Vector Space Systems, which launches small satellites, and Microcosm, which focuses on providing low-cost access to space, an organizer of the trip said.
Rubens Barbosa, a former Brazilian ambassador to the United States who organised the visit to the base, said the U.S. companies were eager to use the Alcantara site.
However, Elon Musk’s SpaceX, fresh off the successful launch this month of the world’s most powerful rocket, said the comments were not correct.
“Reports that SpaceX is interested in launching from Brazil are inaccurate,” spokesman John Taylor said in a statement.
In a statement, Lockheed Martin confirmed a fact-finding trip to Alcantara and Brasilia. “While there are no formal decisions at this time, we look forward to a continued dialogue”.
Vector Space Systems did not immediately respond to requests for comment.
Boeing said it sent two executives to visit the base.
“Boeing sees this as an exciting time in the space industry as we build rockets for launch, test new spaceships, and develop innovative technologies for keeping humans alive on orbit in deep space,” the world’s top planemaker said.
“International partnerships will play an important role in making that a reality, and we look forward to Brazil’s participation,” Boeing said in a statement.
Boeing is currently seeking to buy Brazil’s Embraer, the world’s third-largest commercial planemaker and the main player in the country’s aerospace industry.
American companies will not be able to launch rockets from Brazil until the South American country signs a Technology Safeguards Agreement (TSA) with Washington to protect U.S. intellectual property.
A previous attempt to do so in 2000 was scuttled by the leftist government of former President Luiz Inacio Lula da Silva when he took power in 2003 and has never been ratified by Congress.
Brazilian lawmakers are expected to approve a new TSA that is now being negotiated with the United States.
Jungmann said in addition to U.S. companies that China, Russia, France and Israel were interested in a partnership with Brazil to use the Alcantara site. Brazil envisions multiple users for the base.
“I think we could setup five launch platforms,” Jungmann said.
A variety of countries have worked with Brazil on space issues. Over the past two decades, China has put up five small satellites that Brazil uses to observe agriculture, the environment and the destruction of Amazon rainforest.
Brazil abandoned plans to build its own rockets after an explosion and fire in 2003 at Alcantara killed 21 people.
Brazil then turned to the Ukraine to provide space technology but cancelled the deal in 2015 after the former Soviet Union republic’s financial problems left it unable to provide rockets as promised.
22 Feb 18. Boeing may bid to supply Canadian fighter jets despite trade row. Boeing Co (BA.N) may take part in a race to supply Canada with 88 new fighter jets and stands an equal chance with other bidders even though it is locked in a trade dispute with Ottawa, a senior Canadian official said on Thursday. Procurement Minister Carla Qualtrough made her comments shortly after the Liberal government released a list of five companies that would be allowed to compete. Boeing, along with U.S. rival Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N), is on the list of approved suppliers.
Canada is due to release the exact specifications for the jets next year. Officials say the deal is worth between C$15bn ($11.80bn) and C$19bn.
Although Boeing angered Canada last year by launching a trade challenge against planemaker Bombardier Inc (BBDb.TO), Qualtrough said the dispute would not necessarily harm Boeing if it chose to enter its F-18 Super Hornet.
“All the five teams on the supplier list have an equal chance,” she said in a phone interview when asked about Boeing’s prospects given the Bombardier row. None of the contenders are obliged to take part.
Boeing spokesman Scott Day said the aerospace giant would continue to evaluate its participation in the competition.
A U.S. trade commission last month dismissed Boeing’s complaint that Bombardier was dumping planes on the American market at “absurdly low” prices. Canadian officials have privately made it clear that Boeing needs to drop the matter to stand a better chance of winning the fighter jet contract, say well-placed sources.
Ottawa has made clear that bids will be evaluated in part by whether firms have caused any past economic damage to Canada – a clear reference to Boeing.
But on Thursday Qualtrough said: “We haven’t decided how far back into the past companies’ (actions) will be analyzed.”
Canada is remaining in the nine-nation consortium that helped fund development of the F-35, which has prompted some defense analysts to suggest the jet has an advantage going into the competition.
“We’re aware of that perception and we are working very hard to make sure that the process is fair and transparent,” said Qualtrough. Prime Minister Justin Trudeau initially opposed the F-35 on the grounds that it was too costly, but Ottawa has since softened its line.
The government said the other companies eligible to take part are: Airbus EAD.PA, which makes the Eurofighter; Saab AB SAAB.b.ST, which makes the Gripen; and Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA), which makes the Rafale.
22 Feb 18. Iranian Foreign Ministry Official Threatens to Walk Away from Nuke Deal. Iran could walk away from the 2015 nuclear deal if it doesn’t realize the economic benefits it was expecting from the deal, the nation’s deputy foreign minister told an audience in London, Reuters reported Thursday.
Speaking at the Chatham House think tank, Abbas Araqhci said that banks were not doing business with Iran due to uncertainty over the future of the deal in light of President Donald Trump’s declaration that he would no longer waive sanctions unless specific weaknesses in the deal are fixed.
“If the same policy of confusion and uncertainties about the JCPOA (Joint Comprehensive Plan of Action) continues, if companies and banks are not working with Iran, we cannot remain in a deal that has no benefit for us,” Araqchi told the audience.
Though Araqchi blamed the regime’s claimed disappointment in the economic benefits of the deal on Trump, Iranian officials made similar threats when Obama was president too.
Valyollah Seif, the governor of Iran’s central bank, for example, warned in April 2016 that the nuclear deal would “break up” if the U.S. didn’t give Iran greater access to its financial system. Businesses shied away from working with Iran was due to its involvement in money laundering and terror finance.
Stuart Levey, former Treasury undersecretary for terrorism and financial intelligence in both the Bush and Obama administrations, said in October 2016 that businesses remain hesitant to engage in commerce with Iran because of the risks it poses due to its terror support and money laundering. (Source: theisraelproject.org)
21 Feb 18. India debars, suspends and restricts defense firms in new corruption rule. India’s Ministry of Defence has created a categorization for defense companies caught up or alleged to be involved in corrupt practices. Under the new organization approach, defense companies caught using corrupt practices to influence contracts are now put under debarred, suspended and restricted-procurement categories.
What does this change mean?
Debarred companies — those who have previously been found corrupt — will be unable to do business in India. Suspended firms include those caught up in is an ongoing inquiry. And restricted-procurement firms are those whose credentials have suffered due to allegations of corruption, but the systems and equipment provided is essential to sustain combat readiness of the armed forces.
Since 2012, overseas defense companies — Singapore Technologies Kinetics; Israel Military Industries; Rheinmetall Air Defence of Zurich, Switzerland; and Corporation Defense of Russia — and domestic private companies — T S Kisan & Company; and R. K. Machine Tools — have been banned from carrying out business deals in India until 2024.
Amit Cowshish, a former financial adviser on defense acquistion for the MoD, has doubts about the impact of the new categorization.
“This is just a list of companies which have been debarred/suspended, etc. As I see it, the list is meant to sensitize the procurement personnel about these companies. Apparently, the companies have been classified as per the guidelines issued earlier. It is not a policy letter. So it does not change anything in so far as the policy on debarment, suspension of business or restricted dealings with companies facing … inquiry is concerned,” he said.
In November 2016, the MoD released its modified blacklisting policy, ”Guidelines of the Ministry of Defense for Penalties in Business Dealings with Entities,” meant to ensure scrutiny and transparency of defense deals.
Under these guidelines, past and current blacklisting cases, in which investigations are being carried out, will be examined and a new graded system of penalties will be determined.
“The current letter appears to be superseding the previous policy, which was not pursued to the logical conclusion and remains in a limbo,” said Rahul Bhonsle, a defense analyst and retired Indian Army brigadier.
Who is affected?
The MoD has placed Denel of South Africa, Leonardo of Italy and the latter’s U.K.-based subsidiary AgustaWestland under its suspended category.
In addition, Rolls-Royce of the U.K., Tatra Trucks of the Czech Republic, and Israeli defense companies Rafael Advanced Defense Systems and Israel Aerospace Industries have been placed under the restricted-procurements category.
However, they are permitted to carry out business dealings on account of operational urgency, national security and the lack of alternatives.
The MoD has suspended several companies on account of ongoing investigations into corruption. They include IDS Tunisia, Infotech Design Systems Mauritius, IDS Infotech Mohali, Aeromatrix Info Solution Private Limited (Chandigarh), Shanx Oceaneering Private Limited, Interspiro (India) Private Limited, Expert Systems, Unitech Enterprises, Kelvin Engineering, Atlas Group and Offset India Solutions.
What has been the reaction?
“MoD should enforce one-time severe penalty on companies found in corruption practice,” said a CEO of a foreign defense company, who spoke on condition of anonymity. The executive added that debarring overseas defense firms will “limit acquisition of high-tech weapon systems to be used by Indian armed forces.”
The Indian government can suspend or ban business dealings with an overseas company if it violates a precontract integrity pact entered with the MoD at the time of signing the defense contract.
The government can also suspend or ban a company if it uses corrupt practices or unfair means to secure a bid or contract, of if it violates a standard clause relating to the use of defense agents, who are not permitted in India. The government can also take action in the interest of national security or if an overseas defense company does not meet contractual expectations.
Bhonsle, the retired Army officer, said the process is likely to lead to defensive actions by companies and decision-makers within the MoD, leading to delays in armament procurement. (Source: Defense News)
21 Feb 18. China to US: Don’t use us as an excuse to alter your nuclear strategy. The response to the recently-released U.S. Nuclear Posture Review or NPR from Asia’s major powers has been predictable, with regional allies welcoming it while China and North Korea have both come out against the document.
Ren Guoqiang, a spokesman from China’s Ministry of National Defense said China is “firmly opposed” the NPR’s characterisation of its intentions towards the use of nuclear weapons, noting China has pledged to abide by a policy of no-first-use of its own nuclear arsenal under any circumstances.
Ren also emphasized that China “unconditionally pledges to not threaten the use of nuclear weapons against non-nuclear states or in nuclear-free zones” and noted that China “has always kept its own nuclear forces at the minimum level required by the national security.”
China’s no-first-use policy was reiterated at the recent Munich Security Conference by Chairwoman of China’s National People’s Congress Foreign Affairs Committee Fu Ying during a panel discussion on nuclear security at the conference, who added that its nuclear arsenal was geared towards “self-defense and minimum deterrence.”
The NPR described China as “a major challenge to U.S. interests in Asia,” adding that the U.S. strategy for China is designed to “prevent Beijing from mistakenly concluding that it could secure an advantage through the limited use of its theater nuclear capabilities or that any use of nuclear weapons, however limited, is acceptable.”
Fu expressed puzzlement at the characterization of the threat from China in the NPR, noting that there “is no reason whatsoever for China to threaten the United States” and urged it to “not use China or any other country as an excuse” to alter its nuclear posture.
U.S. ally Japan has also responded to the NPR, with its foreign ministry releasing a statement attributed to Foreign Minister Taro Kono that expressed appreciation that the NPR “clearly articulates the U.S. resolve to ensure the effectiveness of its deterrence and its commitment to providing extended deterrence to its allies including Japan.”
The statement added that Japan “would continue to strengthen the deterrence of the Japan-U.S. Alliance by closely consulting on the extended deterrence, including nuclear deterrence, through the Japan-U.S. Extended Deterrence Dialogue and other consultations” while continuing to “closely cooperate with the U.S. to promote realistic and tangible nuclear disarmament, while appropriately addressing the actual security threats.”
In contrast, South Korea has not officially responded to the NPR, although an anonymous foreign ministry official was quoted by the Yonhap News Agency as saying that the government sees the NPR as reaffirming Washington’s pledge to “provide extended deterrence to South Korea and other allies” in the face of increasing threats from North Korea.
The NPR’s confirmation that submarine-launched low yield nuclear weapons will be developed by the United States also attracted attention from South Korean commentators, with Park Won-gon, a security expert at Handong Global University, suggesting to Yonhap that “tactical nuclear weapons with low-yield warheads could be used not just in a retaliatory strike following an attack, but also in a preventive strike against the North.”
U.S. Vice President Mike Pence has recently held out the possibility that the U.S. may be open to unconditional informal talks with North Korea, while Secretary of State Rex Tillerson has also said that he is intent on keeping the channels of communication open with the North.
State Department spokeswoman Heather Nauert has also confirmed that Pence was ready to meet with the North Korean delegation leaders during his recent visit to the Pyeongchang Winter Olympics in South Korea “to drive home the necessity of North Korea abandoning its illicit ballistic missile and nuclear programs” when the possibility of a brief meeting arose. But she added that the North Korean officials decided not to go forward with the meeting at the last minute. (Source: Defense News)
20 Feb 18. Indonesia looks to win exports in Bangladesh. Indonesia and Bangladesh are looking to expand collaboration to facilitate defence trade and industrial engagement, the Ministry of Defence (MoD) in Jakarta said on 20 February. Following meetings between defence officials from the two countries in Jakarta, the MoD said in a press release that “Bangladesh is interested in buying military products from Indonesia’s defence industry”.
To facilitate potential purchases, the MoD said Bangladeshi officials are planning to visit Indonesian companies including land systems specialist PT Pindad, shipbuilder PT PAL, and aerospace company PT Dirgantara (PTDI) to “see Indonesia’s industrial capabilities directly”.
The two sides are expected to expand talks on defence trade opportunities at a later date as well as increase engagement in military training and education programmes as well as military exercises. (Source: IHS Jane’s)
21 Feb 18. Australia-New Zealand alliance must boost defence ties.
Australia is spending 17 times more on defence than New Zealand, with a leading Defence think tank warning that New Zealand is at risk “of becoming a Western ally with Chinese characteristics”.
In a report released by the Australian Strategic Policy Institute, senior analyst Dr Mark Thomson has called on the government to increase its engagement with New Zealand’s defence forces.
“In the coming years, both countries will have to tread a fine line between Mr Trump’s unpredictability and Mr Xi’s threats of economic punishment. The antipodean pair could either draw closer together or be pulled apart, and each will continue to calibrate its strategic distance from the US,” the report warns.
The ASPI analyst said despite the expanded framework for cross-Tasman defence co-operation established after a joint review in 2011, more effort is needed to enhance the two countries relationships.
“A conscious effort is needed to stop the relationship from becoming stale and, more critically, to bolster it against buffeting from a region in strategic transition,” the report said.
Dr Thomson noted the relationship between Australia and the US, in which Australia relies on the US to “shoulder the burden in the broader region”, mirrors that of the Australia-New Zealand (A-NZ) relationship, with Australia spending significantly more on defence.
“New Zealanders each contribute NZ$426 to their defence; Australians spend $1,438. New Zealand doesn’t match Australia’s effort because it knows that Australia will shoulder the burden in the local region in any case,” the report said.
The report goes on to suggest that, despite the asymmetry of the burden sharing, nurturing the A-NZ relationships is not only a wise move in a geopolitcal sense, it is also a sensible financially.
“Australia would have to increase its defence spending by more than $1bn a year to generate the additional military capabilities that New Zealand can contribute for operations. From Australia’s perspective, the business case for the alliance isn’t diminished one iota by the asymmetry of gains or the disparity in burden sharing. All that matters is that the A–NZ alliance delivers a net gain to Canberra,” Dr Thomson said.
The senior analyst said maintaining the alliance could best be achieved through more combined exercises involving the US and humanitarian assistance and disaster relief exercises in south-east Asia and the south Pacific.
Maritime surveillance efforts could also be stepped up, with Thomson encouraging Australia and New Zealand to look at the US and Canada and form their own version of the North American Aerospace Defense Command (NORAD), albeit with a surveillance focus rather than air defence.
“The resulting Anzac Maritime Surveillance Command would be a ‘static’ capability that’s largely immune to the vagaries of politically contentious deployments,” Dr Thomson said.
“The critical question is what New Zealand will be able bring to the table. A good start would be to follow Australia and replace its P-3 Orion maritime patrol aircraft with the P-8 Poseidon. Better still, it could buy one or more Triton long-range surveillance drones to augment the system that Australia is acquiring.” (Source: Google/Defence Connect)
21 Feb 18. Japan to buy at least 20 more F-35A stealth fighters – sources. Japan plans to buy at least 20 additional F-35A stealth fighters over the next six years, some or all of which it may purchase directly from Lockheed Martin Corp (LMT.N) in the United States rather than assemble locally, three sources said.
“In view of budgets and production schedules a new acquisition of around 25 planes is appropriate,” said one of the sources with knowledge of the plan. The sources asked not to be identified because they are not authorized to speak to the media.
The sources said buying complete aircraft from the United States, at about $100m each, will save Japan about $30m per airframe.
The purchase will add to an earlier order for 42 of the fighters, most of which are being constructed at a “final assembly and check out” plant in Japan operated by Mitsubishi Heavy Industries (7011.T), the country’s leading defense contractor.
That plant is one of only two such factories outside the United States. The other, in Italy, is operated by Leonardo Spa (LDOF.MI).
As China fields ever more advanced aircraft, including stealth planes, and as North Korea pushes ahead with its nuclear weapon and ballistic missile programs, adding F-35s will further increase Japan’s reliance on U.S. military technology to give it an edge over potential foes in East Asia.
Japanese military planners are also considering buying F-35Bs, the vertical takeoff and landing (VTOL) version of the aircraft. Those models can operate from small islands skirting the East China Sea or from ships such as the Izumo-class helicopter carriers.
“We have not yet made any plan and we are evaluating what fighter aircraft we need,” Itsunori Onodera said at a news briefing on Tuesday when asked whether Japan planned to buy more F-35s.
Onodera’s ministry will release two defense reviews by the end of the year that will outline Japan’s security goals and military procurement plans for the five years beginning in April 2019.
The first of the 42 F-35As ordered by Japan’s Air Self Defence Force (ASDF) are being deployed to Misawa Air Base in northern Japan. Japanese government officials and Lockheed Martin executives are set to attend a ceremony there on Saturday to mark the entry of the first Japanese F-35 into service.
The F-35 accounts for about a quarter of Lockheed Martin’s total revenue. The company is hiring 1,800 workers for its Fort Worth, Texas, factory to build a fleet that is expected to grow to more than 3,000 jets worldwide. Lockheed Martin is scheduled to nearly triple annual production to more than 160 jets by 2023.
The first Japanese F-35s will replace aging F-4 Phantom fighters that date back to 1960s. The next batch will allow Japan to retire some of the aging 200 F-15s flown by the ASDF that are the main interceptor workhorse of the nation’s air defenses.
Japan also wants to build its own stealth fighter, dubbed the F-3, although the high cost of military aircraft development means it will probably need to find foreign partners to share the expense. (Source: Reuters)
21 Feb 18. British defence industry body ADS Group downs shutters in India. Even as New Delhi and London talk up the importance of their “strategic partnership” and exchange top-level political visits, the UK defence industry is thinning out from India. Business Standard learns UK defence industry body ADS Group (the acronym encompasses “aerospace, defence, security and space”), which represents over a 1,000 defence firms, is shutting down its India office from March 31. Since 2002, when ADS Group opened an office in New Delhi, it has been only its second foreign station after Toulouse, France. In 2009, ADS Group opened another office in Bengaluru. “With its massive defence budget, a booming civil and military aviation market, and ambitious homeland security plans, India is a country one cannot afford to miss,” says the company website even today. That enthusiasm has dramatically waned. While no public announcement has yet been made, ADS Group member companies have been informed about the closure of the India office. So have Indian defence companies that joined the British industry body, hoping that would help them connect with small, UK-based, high technology companies, which they could potentially ally with or even buy out. One of those Indian members was the Pune-based Kalyani Group, which confirms its membership lapsed as it became evident that ADS Group was pulling down the shutters in India. After March 31, only a handful of large British manufacturers will retain a presence in India — large firms like BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and Cobham, which do enough business in India to justify maintaining company offices. The UK government will continue its support, though, with defence products ranking amongst Britain’s top three exports. This would be done through the UK Department of International Trade, which operates from the British High Commission in Delhi. Even though India remains the world’s largest arms importer, much of New Delhi’s capital spending goes on government to government buys, or single vendor procurements from global defence giants. “Make in India”, which is what small British defence technology firms would gain business from, has always lagged the rhetoric, even after 2014, when the National Democratic Alliance (NDA) government portrayed defence manufacture as a key driver of its “Make in India” initiative. It is understood that Paul Everitt, who heads ADS Group, has concluded that India is a difficult market that does not warrant the expense of a full-time office and staff. Asked why it was closing its India office, ADS Group did not furnish a response. Defence industry analyst, Major Karun Khanna (retired), points out that most of the UK defence industry consists of two big primes — BAE Systems and Rolls-Royce — which have own India offices.
With large US and French defence corporations buying into British defence firms in recent years, there is simply not enough of UK defence industry left to justify representation in India. Other industry analysts argue the high cost of British defence products is forcing its industry towards the exits. In contrast, US, Israeli and French defence firms are enlarging their presence in India, having developed low-cost production models that operate on wafer-thin margins. In contrast to the bleak industry picture, India-UK political engagement is vibrant. Prime Minister Narendra Modi visited the UK in November 2015, which was reciprocated by his counterpart, Theresa May, a year later. Defence Minister Nirmala Sitharaman was to visit the UK this week, which was postponed after the terrorist attack in Jammu last week.The British and Indian militaries do joint training together. Officers train at each others’ establishments. A “Defence Consultative Group Meeting” is held each year at the defence secretary level. Intelligence exchanges are robust. The next opportunity for defence interaction would be the Defexpo India 2018 in Chennai in April, which the UK minister for defence production is likely to attend. (Source: News Now/Business Standard)
BATTLESPACE Comment: It seems that ADS has a different view of the world being open for business with the U as pedalled by Dr Liam Fox in his globe trotting journeys!
20 Feb 18. NYTimes: Iran is “Embedded” in Syria, Threatening Israel
The recent infiltration of Israeli airspace by an Iranian drone and the subsequent Israeli counter-strikes draw attention to “to how deeply Iran has embedded itself in Syria,” The New York Times reported Monday. This means that in a direct confrontation between Israel and Iran, Iran could call upon its “axis of resistance,” as it refers to its “expanding network of militant proxies in multiple countries.”
Iran’s goal in establishing itself in Syria is “to make Syria a new front between Israel, Hezbollah and Iran,” in case of a new war, according to Amir Toumaj, a researcher who studies Iran.
Analysts cited by the Times said that Iran’s strategy emphasized the building of alliances with local forces that could benefit from its training and financing, instead of just controlling territory. This approach has allowed Iran to “amplify” its power across the Middle East, threatening Israel, Saudi Arabia and American interests.
The emerging threat, according to the Times, is prompting Israelis to consider that it is threatened with its “First Northern War,” that could see Israel facing attack from two fronts – Syria and Lebanon – on its northern border.
“Israel will face not only quantity, but the threat to vulnerable strategic sites,” said Yaakov Amidror, a former Israeli national security adviser and currently a fellow at the Jerusalem Institute for Strategic Studies. Referring to both the number and sophistication of weapons that Hezbollah and Iran’s other allies have at their disposal, Amidror warned: “Each one is problematic; together, they are devastating.” (Source: theisraelproject.org)
20 Feb 18. Conflicts of interest have led the Defence Teaming Centre (DTC) to step down from its role as the representative for the Australian Industry Defence Network’s (AIDN) South Australia state chapter.
The DTC board has confirmed that, from 20 March this year, DTC will cease to fulfil the role as AIDN’s SA state chapter and will withdraw as a member of AIDN.
In a statement to DTC members, chief executive Margot Forster said the decision to part ways with AIDN was made to address ongoing conflicts of interests.
“Increasingly, we have found that DTC’s role as the SA-based chapter of AIDN conflicts with the DTC’s national focus and reach. This has not been in the best interest of our members,” the statement read.
Forster said feedback from members over the years was also influential in the decision, noting members wanted to see an organisation with more reach, focus and a strong national voice.
“In recent years, the feedback we have received from our members and other key stakeholders is that the DTC should have a national focus and, where appropriate, should extend its services outside of South Australia. This view was tested and validated by the member and stakeholder survey conducted at the end of last year,” Forster said.
Forster added that the DTC will still look to collaborate with AIDN “as we seek to achieve and deliver the best outcome for our industry”.
“South Australian industry is set to play a critical role in future defence programs, the DTC will continue to support the aims and objectives of local industry while strengthening national relationships and opportunities for our members,” said Forster.
Over the years, the DTC membership has grown to almost 300 businesses consisting of prime defence contracts, SMEs, professional service providers and educational institutions who are involved in supplying and supporting Defence capability.
As a peak defence industry body, the Defence Teaming Centre aims to assist in the growth of the defence industry in Australia, to maximise defence related opportunities for its members and to advocate on their behalf in relation to defence industry matters. (Source: Defence Connect)
16 Feb 18. Defence boost needed to combat threat of China: Molan.
Developing Australia’s military self-reliance and preparing for the possibility of a China-US war should be paramount for the Australian Defence Force, according to newly minted senator and former major-general Jim Molan. In the politician’s maiden speech to the Senate, Senator Molan said managing strategic uncertainty as long-term ally America undergoes a “relative decline” is crucial as China moves towards becoming the world’s super power.
“My view is that we need to increase our self-reliance to manage strategic uncertainty through increased readiness, preparedness and all-round adaptability,” Senator Molan said.
“War with China or involving China is not inevitable, and I’ve said this many, many times. We should welcome China’s emergence as a world power, if for no other reason than it has lifted hundreds of ms of people out of poverty, but we, Australia, should welcome China from a position of strength.”
While calling for Australia to welcome the rise of China, the former chief of operations in the coalition headquarters in Iraq said it is unlikely the US could come to the aid of Australia or other allies in extreme situations.
“I have failed to see for many years, despite any special relationships with any of its allies, how the US can come to the aid of all or even most of its allies in any extreme situation,” he said.
“The US government and military now acknowledge this in their desire to refinance their military. Many US allies around the world, from the Baltic to the Sea of Japan, seem to have retreated into complacent dependency, based on the myth of infinite US power and resolve as a reason for underinvesting in their own defence self-reliance, and this affects all of us. The centre pole of Australia’s defence policy tent, the US, may no longer stand as straight or as tall as we hoped.”
And while the senator is in support of further increasing the nation’s defence spend, he admitted it is unlikely the government will reach more than it’s promised 2 per cent spend of GDP by 2021.
“I have no expectations that governments immediately spend one more dollar on defence, but for years I’ve advocated that we must be more open about the strategic risks that are being taken in the name of the Australian people. We should all know how much defence we get for what we spend, but we should also know how much risk we take for the money we do not spend,” Molan said.
The former major-general, who spoke positively of the 2016 Defence White Paper, is calling for the government to develop an “output orientated” defence policy and outline how Australia plans to win the next war “in a generic sense”.
“The most important part of any defence policy is the output: how Australia is going to deter the next war by being able to win it. Of course this requires governments to state what they consider the next war is going to be, and so define an output oriented defence policy. I reject the views of commentators and academics that it’s too hard to determine this output,” he said.
“Such a specification of the next war can be done in a generic sense, and it must be done or the necessary logic in our defence policy is totally absent. The US and the UK did it for years in terms of the kinds of wars they could win, and only abandoned it when it became politically too sensitive because of the self-induced defence shortfalls we see in those nations today.”
The NSW Liberal senator replaced former Nationals deputy leader Fiona Nash after she was caught up in the dual citizenship saga. His maiden speech was watched in the Senate chamber’s gallery by Kim and Kerry Duffy, whose son Bryce was killed by a rogue Afghan soldier in 2011 on a parade ground in Afghanistan. (Source: Defence Connect)
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