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28 Jan 22. U.S., in Lockstep With NATO Allies, Calls on Putin to Stand Down. The United States is in lockstep with NATO allies in calling for Russian President Vladimir Putin to de-escalate his country’s situation with Ukraine, U.S. defense leaders said during a Pentagon news conference today.
Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III stressed that conflict with Russia is not inevitable. “There is still time and space for diplomacy,” the secretary told Pentagon reporters. “The United States, in lockstep with our allies and partners, has offered Russia a path away from crisis and toward greater security, and the Department of Defense will continue to support those diplomatic efforts.”
Austin spoke alongside Army Gen. Mark A. Milley, chairman of the Joint Chiefs of Staff. Both men emphasized the United States’ commitments to NATO allies and in opposition to Russian actions. “Any Russian attack or further incursion into Ukraine would not only ignite conflict, it would also violate the bedrock principles of national sovereignty, territorial integrity and self determination,” Austin said. “This is something that we’re taking very seriously both as a strong partner of Ukraine and as one of 30 members of NATO.”
Since the first Russian incursion into Ukraine and Putin’s illegal annexation of Crimea in 2014, the United States has committed more than $2.7 billion in security assistance to Ukraine. A shipment arrived in Ukraine today, Austin said.
The United States military is taking actions to support NATO allies. Part of that includes reinforcing security on NATO’s eastern flank, Austin said. “We placed thousands of U.S. troops on ‘prepare-to-deploy’ orders earlier this week,” he said. “If NATO activates its response forces, these troops will be ready to go.”
Both Austin and Milley said the 8,500 U.S. troops have not been ordered to go anywhere, yet. The troops will be part of the NATO Response Force if that unit is activated.
Milley said Russia needs to “stand down” from its position. He noted that there are more than 100,000 Russian troops on the border with Ukraine and inside Russia’s only European ally — Belarus. Ukraine is the second largest nation in Europe and has a population of 44 million. “If war were to break out on a scale and scope that is possible, the civilian population will suffer immensely,” the general said.
The Ukrainian military has about 150,000 active-duty troops and a larger number of reservists, Milley said.
Ukraine is a NATO partner, not a NATO member, but NATO leaders have told Putin that any incursion into Ukraine would trigger significant economic and diplomatic costs. “A move on Ukraine will accomplish the very thing Russia says it does not want: a NATO alliance strengthened and resolved on its western flank,” Austin said.
“The United States will contribute to NATO’s response forces. And we will coordinate with our NATO allies. We will make sure that they have the capabilities that they need to defend themselves. Article Five is clear on its point of attack against one NATO member is an attack against us all. And as President Biden has said, the United States holds this as a sacred obligation. And we will do right by that commitment.”
Austin and Milley said that while they do not believe Putin has made the decision to use the troops amassed on Ukraine’s border, he clearly has that capability.
The frontline states of NATO are, understandably, worried about Russian aggression. NATO has significant military capability, Milley said. NATO has more than 130 brigades of maneuver forces, not including U.S. forces, the chairman said. The alliance also has 93 squadrons of high-end fighters, four aircraft carriers, and many more surface combatants. “The military capability of NATO is very, very significant,” he said. (Source: US DoD)
30 Jan 22. UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson considers biggest possible offer to NATO and prepares to stand up UK Armed Forces to protect allies.
- PM considers biggest possible offer to NATO and prepares to stand up UK Armed Forces to protect allies
- UK considering options to double troop numbers and send defensive weapons to Estonia
- Fast jets, warships and military specialists could be sent to protect NATO allies
- PM expected to speak to Putin this week and to travel to the region in coming days
The UK is expected to bolster its offer to NATO with a major military deployment to strengthen Europe’s borders in the face of rising Russian aggression. UK officials will be deployed to Brussels to finalise the details of the offer with NATO next week, and ministers will discuss the military options on Monday.
It comes after the Prime Minister asked defence and security chiefs to step up defensive efforts in Europe during a high level intelligence briefing on the situation in Ukraine this week.
Prime Minister Boris Johnson said:
“This package would send a clear message to the Kremlin – we will not tolerate their destabilising activity, and we will always stand with our NATO allies in the face Russian hostility.
“If President Putin chooses a path of bloodshed and destruction, it will be a tragedy for Europe. Ukraine must be free to choose its own future.
“I have ordered our Armed Forces to prepare to deploy across Europe next week, ensuring we are able to support our NATO allies on land, at sea and in the air.”
The possible deployment will reinforce NATO’s defences and underpin the UK’s support for Nordic and Baltic partners.
In conversations with partners in recent weeks, the Prime Minister has emphasised that without a successful combination of deterrence and diplomacy, thousands of lives will be lost in both Russia and Ukraine.
The Prime Minister is expected to speak to President Putin and travel to the region early this week to relay that message in person. A second trip to meet NATO member counterparts is being planned for early next month.
Following the Prime Minister’s statement to the House of Commons last week, making clear the better relations with Russia was possible, the Prime Minister directed the Foreign and Defence Secretaries to prepare to go to Moscow for talks with their counterparts in the coming days. They will be asked to improve relationships with President Putin’s Government and encourage de-escalation.
The Prime Minister remains seized of the importance of pursuing diplomatic efforts in tandem, and last week joined a call with President Biden, European leaders and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. In that call leaders agreed on the importance of international unity in the face of growing Russian hostility and stressed that diplomatic discussions with Russia remain the first priority.
The Defence Secretary is also expected to travel to meet with Allies this week in Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia on behalf of the Prime Minister.
Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has also asked the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, to attend Cabinet this Tuesday to brief Ministers on the situation in Ukraine. The UK already has more than 900 British military personnel based in Estonia, more than 100 in Ukraine as part of Operation Orbital, and a Light Cavalry Squadron of around 150 people, is deployed to Poland.
Op Orbital has trained 22,000 Ukrainian troops since 2015, and further military trainers were sent to the country earlier this month to support the training of Ukrainian forces to use 2000 missiles sent from the UK.
Meanwhile, HMS Prince of Wales is in the High North leading the NATO’s Maritime High Readiness Force. It is on standby to move within hours should tensions rise further. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
30 Jan 22. HMS Prince of Wales, the command ship for NATO’s Response Force, is on standby to move within hours should tensions with Russia rise further. HMS Prince of Wales is currently leading NATO’s Maritime High Readiness Force.
The UK is currently offering “a major military deployment” to NATO to strengthen Europe’s borders in the face of rising Russian aggression.
UK officials now head to Brussels to finalise the details of the offer with NATO next week, and ministers will discuss the military options on Monday.
It comes after the Prime Minister asked defence and security chiefs to step up defensive efforts in Europe during a high-level intelligence briefing on the situation in Ukraine this week.
According to a statement:
“The Prime Minister remains seized of the importance of pursuing diplomatic efforts in tandem, and last week joined a call with President Biden, European leaders and NATO Secretary General Stoltenberg. In that call leaders agreed on the importance of international unity in the face of growing Russian hostility and stressed that diplomatic discussions with Russia remain the first priority.
The Defence Secretary is also expected to travel to meet with Allies this week in Hungary, Slovenia, and Croatia on behalf of the Prime Minister. Meanwhile, the Prime Minister has also asked the Chief of Defence Staff, Admiral Sir Tony Radakin, to attend Cabinet this Tuesday to brief Ministers on the situation in Ukraine. The UK already has more than 900 British military personnel based in Estonia, more than 100 in Ukraine as part of Operation Orbital, and a Light Cavalry Squadron of around 150 people, is deployed to Poland.
Op Orbital has trained 22,000 Ukrainian troops since 2015, and further military trainers were sent to the country earlier this month to support the training of Ukrainian forces to use 2000 missiles sent from the UK. Meanwhile, HMS Prince of Wales is in the High North leading the NATO Maritime High Readiness Force. It is on standby to move within hours should tensions rise further.”
The Royal Navy assumed command of NATO’s Response Force from the French Marine Nationale on January 1st, 2022. The NATO Response Force is a high readiness force comprising land, air, sea and special forces units capable of being deployed quickly on operations wherever needed.
According to a Royal Navy statement earlier this month: “The Royal Navy today took charge of NATO’s most important task force with a ceremony aboard aircraft carrier HMS Prince of Wales in Portsmouth. For the next 12 months it is responsible for leading the alliance’s Maritime High Readiness Force – an international task group formed to deal with major global events. The most senior sea-going staff in the Royal Navy – Commander UK Strike Force, headed by Rear Admiral Mike Utley – takes charge of the force, with HMS Prince of Wales serving as NATO Command Ship, ready to deploy in support of NATO exercises and operations throughout the year. Those will include major workouts for British and allied forces in the Arctic at the end of the winter, Baltic in the summer, and an extensive deployment to the Mediterranean in the autumn. To mark the formal transfer of command from the French Navy, the NATO flag was raised aboard the carrier today during a 30-minute ceremony – shifted to the carrier’s aft hangar rather than the flight deck due to thick fog in Portsmouth – attended by defence attachés and military representatives from across the alliance.” (Source: https://ukdefencejournal.org.uk/)
28 Jan 22. Defence Procurement Minister launches new Defence SME Action Plan from 4GD METAlab. Close combat technology specialists, 4GD, and their close allies, D3A and 2iC, welcomed the Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, at 4GD’s research facility in Berkshire to launch the new Defence Small and Medium-Sized Enterprise Action Plan.
The new Action Plan sets out the department’s priorities and aims to maximise opportunities for SMEs to do business with the Ministry of Defence by increasing access to information, lowering barriers to market entry and fostering better collaboration.
The Plan lists a number of measures that would allow companies to bid for more work and improve procurement speed. This includes policies for opening supply chains further, supporting acquisition teams with early market engagement and raising commercial assurance processes. It also includes policies that set social value criteria and environmental standards.
The Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, said: “SMEs deliver vital skills to defence, helping keep our Armed Forces safe and improve our battle winning capabilities. Our new SME Actions Plan will increase engagement with the SME sector, and reduce barriers to better utilise the expertise and innovation these organisations offer.”
The veteran-run SMEs work closely with the British Army to drive performance improvements via accessible, ultra-realistic urban warfare training.
4GD’s SmartFacility, in service with the Army’s 16 Air Assault Brigade, offers a range of special effects and monitoring features and can be upgraded to also include data capture and analysis, smart-targets and a synthetic environment that creates a life-like world of digital assets for soldiers to interact with.
The facility’s synthetic combined arms training capabilities are delivered by training experts, D3A, who introduce operational hardware interfaces that interconnect with digital assets, with actions taken in the virtual domain having an effect in the real world, and vice versa.
Rob Taylor, Founder of 4GD, said: “We were honoured to welcome the Minister for Defence Procurement, Jeremy Quin, to our METAlab research facility, where our technologies are developed by veteran soldiers for serving personnel. The government continues to demonstrate its commitment to innovation in defence and is building a collaborative environment to enable specialist SMEs like 4GD to thrive.”
2iC is a leader in digital interoperability that provides information sharing software, linking together comms systems and enabling two-way communications in environments with low-power computing. The company played an instrumental role in the development of the SME Action Plan.
27 Jan 22. Delivery of Bulgarian F-16s to be delayed. Delivery of the eight Lockheed Martin F-16 Block 70 Fighting Falcon combat aircraft for the Bulgarian Air Force is to be delayed by ‘several months’ due to the Covid-19 pandemic. Bulgarian Defence Minister Stefan Yanev announced the news during a hearing in front of the Defence Committee of the Bulgarian Parliament on 25 January.
Yanev said he had received information from the manufacturer citing delays in the supply chain that would affect all customers of the newly-produced F-16s. He said he expected the delay to be measured in months, but then added that the exact length would be known in the second half of February, when a US delegation is set to arrive in Sofia to discuss the Bulgarian programme. (Source: Janes)
27 Jan 22. NATO bolsters enhanced air policing mission. NATO has bolstered its enhanced air policing (eAP) mission, with nations providing additional aircraft as concerns over Russian military action in Ukraine grow.
The alliance announced on 26 January that US Air Force (USAF) Boeing F-15E Strike Eagles and Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcons were being dispatched to Estonia and Lithuania respectively to supplement the current Baltic Air Policing mission.
“[USAF] F-15s have landed at Amari Air Base, Estonia, [on 26 Janaury] and [RDAF] F-16s will arrive at Siauliai Air Base, Lithuania, [on 27 January] to bolster the forces already deployed under the long-established NATO Air Policing mission,” NATO Allied Air Command said. “Danish F-16s will arrive in Siauliai to work alongside the Polish F-16s that deployed there on 1 December 2021 to conduct Baltic Air Policing. The US F-15s landed at Amari to integrate with the current detachment of Belgian F-16s; both detachments will execute the enhanced Air Policing mission.” (Source: Janes)
26 Jan 22. Finns Party Representative Ville-Veikko Elomaa suggests Finland will not benefit from NATO membership during online discussion. Politicians, journalists, and experts from Finland discussed the current geopolitical issues around NATO membership during an online talk hosted by civil rights expert Johan Beckman. Watch here: https://youtu.be/QZBx9cDqbm8
The conversation included two leading opposition party representatives – The Finns Party and The Power Belongs to the People Party, Brussels-based advisor at the European Parliament, and member of The Finns Party Olli Kotro, MP. Member of “Power Belongs to the People” party Ossi Tiihonen was also joined by member of The Finns Party Ville-Veikko Elomaa, journalist Leena Hietanen, geopolitical experts Marko Vapaa, Lugansk militia volunteer Petri Viljakainen and Janus Putkonen, editor in chief of Mvlechti.net.
Olli Kotro shared his vision of NATO: “In Brussels and the French speaking Western countries the issues related to NATO membership are discussed very carefully. There are many disagreements among NATO countries and there is no common position, so reports in the media regarding unity of the alliance members are exaggerated. As for Finland, according to its Constitution, the country is supposed to make such decisions independently.” Given the current escalations in Ukraine and assumptions regarding new possible members, Kotro added: “Solutions regarding Ukraine can only be diplomatic, Western countries can not engage into military scenarios.”
Ossi Tiihonen highlighted that, in his opinion, Russia doesn’t pose any threat to Finland: “Russians consider the Finns friends, we are very much alike. There is some pressure being put on Finland, but neither the politicians, nor the people wish to join NATO. Finland has a strong army that can mobilize up to 1 m soldiers, it is enough for any threat. The threat is coming from the West rather than the East.”
Ville-Veikko Elomaa agreed that a military conflict with Russia is not likely to happen: “We cannot have a war with Russia. The destiny of Finland is not bothering big countries, and NATO membership wouldn’t benefit us. We should develop bilateral relations with Russia.”
Leena Hietanen shared her vision saying that: “Russia now has a strong position, it’s military potential is at a high level. If Western policy is aggressive, it can only lose, and Russia would win. The plans against Russia are based on provocations. The West cannot have a war with Russia because of Ukraine.”
Janus Putkonen called the situation in Ukraine “a civil geopolitical war with high chances of an escalation”, hoping that it wouldn’t lead to division of Europe. Pietri Viljakainen, a Finn based in the East of Ukraine shared his observations: “Our position is defensive, we are constantly being attacked from the Ukrainian side. This is how it has been for many years by now.”
Experts concluded that for both Finland and Ukraine, a neutral position is the most beneficial one considering their geographical position, economic and cultural relations with the neighbors and expressed hope for peaceful solutions on the ongoing conflict. (Source: PR Newswire)
24 Jan 22. Germany: Will the Return of the F-35 Spell the end of FCAS/NGF? If the nuclear mission of the Tornado’s successor is the most politically sensitive subject, it does not have a great urgency for the German Air Force: its priority is electronic warfare, the mix planned by the previous coalition – 30 Super Hornet and 15 Super Growler – was the best combination possible.
Can this priority be undermined by the plans of the current coalition?
Mrs Lambrecht, the new defense minister, has indeed expressed the wish for a European option, i.e, the Eurofighter in electronic warfare version (ECR-SEAD). In a presentation dated November 5, 2019, Airbus estimated that the Eurofighter could replace the Tornado in all its missions: 45 for the nuclear mission and 40 for electronic warfare (so-called ECR-SEAD version). The sole rub: none of these two versions exists.
The nuclear certification of the Eurofighter is impossible as the German MoD finally realized at the end of December. The U.S National Nuclear Security Administration published, at the beginning of December, a follow-up notice of its B-61-12 program, an evolution of its free-fall nuclear bomb, in which it stated that “The B61-12 LEP is critical to sustaining the Nation’s air delivered nuclear deterrent capability. It will be air-delivered in either ballistic gravity or guided drop modes and is being certified for delivery on current strategic aircraft (B-2A) and dual capable aircraft (F-15E, F-16C/D & MLU, PA-200) as well as future aircraft platforms (F-35, B-21).”
This notice excludes not only the Eurofighter but also, for the first time, the F/A-18 E/F, which was listed in the previous version.
The ECR-SEAD version of Eurofighter, which has still to be developed, will lack anyway from operational feedbacks, unlike the Super Growler. The better shortcut is therefore the purchase of the US EW fighter. However, purchasing two U.S fighters at the same time is clearly not a wise political decision.
By authorizing “Prufaufträge” (test orders), the coalition seems to be heading towards a compromise that it hopes quick and smart, even though it may be detrimental to the French-German FCAS/NGF next-generation fighter project.
Acquisition of the F-35 for the nuclear mission.
Playing on the quantity (less than 45: 20 to 30) could reduce the opposition of the Greens and the left wing of the SPD, and avoid presenting this order as a beginning of a substitute for the FCAS/NGF whose budgets would dry up (as they were elsewhere in Europe, each time the F-35 has been ordered).
The coalition considers possible to conclude a deal: acquisition of 20 to 30 F-35 in exchange for the U.S purchase of the Airbus tankers. The acquisition of the F-35 would also have a diplomatic advantage: sending a clear message to Russia that Germany does not give up the nuclear aspect of the Atlantic Alliance.
Acquisition of the ECR-SEAD version of the Eurofighter
To maintain the workload of the German aerospace & defence industry and replace the Tornado ICD/EDS; this order would therefore complement the ‘Quadriga’ order signed on November 12, 2020 (38 Eurofighter to replace the earlier Tranche 1 aircraft).
These recent developments demonstrate that the coalition contract is being respected: from the start of the legislature, the coalition is studying the replacement of the Tornado with discernment.
Ditto for the weaponization of the Israeli drones, whose use should be regulated in the coming weeks at the Ministry of Defence.
It will be interesting to see how the coalition moves forward on both issues. (Source: defense-aerospace.com)
24 Jan 22. German Navy chief resigns following Ukraine comments. The head of the German Navy resigned late Saturday after coming under fire at home and abroad for comments he made on Ukraine and Russia.
Speaking at an event in India on Friday, Vice Adm. Kay-Achim Schönbach had said Ukraine would not regain the Crimean Peninsula, which Russia annexed in 2014. Schönbach also said it was important to have Russia on the same side against China, and suggested that Russian President Vladimir Putin deserved “respect.”
His comments, captured on video, caused anger in Ukraine, which summoned the German ambassador to complain. They also sparked consternation and a swift rebuke back in Berlin.
By late Saturday, Schönbach had asked for his dismissal, saying he wanted to prevent further damage resulting to Germany and its military from his “ill-considered statements.”
In a statement, the German Navy said Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht had accepted Schönbach’s resignation and appointed his deputy as interim naval chief.
The German government has insisted it stands united with its NATO allies on the issue of Russia’s military threat to Ukraine, warning that Moscow will pay a high price if it makes any military moves against its neighbor. But unlike many other NATO countries, Berlin says it won’t supply Ukraine with lethal weapons, arguing that it doesn’t want to inflame tensions further. (Source: Defense News)
24 Jan 22. NATO sends ships, jets east, Ireland rejects Russia drills over Ukraine threat. NATO said Monday that it’s putting extra forces on standby and sending more ships and fighter jets to eastern Europe, as Ireland warned that new Russian war games off its coast are not welcome given tensions over whether President Vladimir Putin intends to attack Ukraine.
The U.S.-led military organization said that it is beefing up its “deterrence” presence in the Baltic Sea area. Denmark is sending a frigate and deploying F-16 war planes to Lithuania; Spain will also send warships and could send fighter jets to Bulgaria; and France stands ready to send troops to Bulgaria.
Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said NATO will “take all necessary measures to protect and defend all allies.” He said: “We will always respond to any deterioration of our security environment, including through strengthening our collective defense.”
The announcement came as European Union foreign ministers sought to put on a fresh display of resolve in support of Ukraine, and paper over concerns about divisions on the best way to confront any Russian aggression.
“We are showing unprecedented unity about the situation in Ukraine, with the strong coordination with the U.S.,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell, who is chairing their meeting, told reporters in Brussels.
Asked whether the EU would follow a U.S. move and order the families of European embassy personnel in Ukraine to leave, Borrell said: “We are not going to do the same thing.” He said he is keen to hear from Secretary of State Antony Blinken about that decision.
Britain on Monday also announced it is withdrawing some diplomats and dependants from its embassy in Kyiv. The Foreign Office said the move was “in response to the growing threat from Russia.”
Ukraine’s foreign ministry spokesman, Oleg Nikolenko, said the U.S. decision was “a premature step” and a sign of “excessive caution.” He said that Russia is sowing panic among Ukrainians and foreigners in order to destabilize Ukraine.
Germany is monitoring developments, but German Foreign Minister Annalena Baerbock stressed that “we must not contribute to unsettling the situation further; we need to continue to support the Ukrainian government very clearly and above all maintain the stability of the country.”
Arriving at the EU meeting, Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney said he would inform his counterparts that Russia plans to holds war games 240 kilometers (150 miles) off Ireland’s southwest coast — in international waters but within Ireland’s exclusive economic zone.
“This isn’t a time to increase military activity and tension in the context of what’s happening with and in Ukraine.” Coveney said. “The fact that they are choosing to do it on the western borders, if you like, of the EU, off the Irish coast, is something that in our view is simply not welcome and not wanted right now, particularly in the coming weeks.”
During Monday’s meeting, which Blinken will attend virtually, the ministers will restate Europe’s condemnation of the Russian military build-up near Ukraine, involving an estimated 100,000 troops, tanks, artillery and heavy equipment, diplomats and officials said ahead of the meeting.
They’ll renew calls for dialogue, notably through the European-backed “Normandy format,” which helped to ease hostilities in 2015, a year after Putin ordered the annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean Peninsula. Fighting in eastern Ukraine has killed around 14,000 people and still simmers today.
Should Putin move on Ukraine again, the ministers will warn, Russia would face “massive consequences and severe costs.” Those costs would be of a financial and political nature. The EU insists that it stands ready to slap hefty sanctions on Russia within days of any attack.
Over the weekend, some of the member countries closest to Russia — Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania — confirmed that they plan to send U.S.-made anti-tank and anti-aircraft missiles to Ukraine, a move endorsed by the United States.
But questions have been raised about just how unified the EU is. Diverse political, business and energy interests have long divided the 27-country bloc in its approach to Moscow. Around 40% of the EU’s natural gas imports come from Russia, much of it via pipelines across Ukraine.
Gas prices have skyrocketed, and the head of the International Energy Agency has said that Russian energy giant Gazprom was already reducing its exports to the EU in late 2021 despite high prices. Putin says Gazprom is respecting its contract obligations, not putting the squeeze on Europe.
The EU’s two major powers appear most cautious. Germany’s Nord Stream 2 pipeline from Russia, which is complete but yet to pump gas, has become a bargaining chip. French President Emmanuel Macron has renewed previously rejected calls for an EU summit with Putin.
Late last year, France and Germany initially expressed doubts about U.S. intelligence assessments that Moscow might be preparing to invade.
Late on Saturday, the head of the German navy, Vice Admiral Kay-Achim Schoenbach, resigned after coming under fire for saying that Ukraine would not regain the Crimean Peninsula, and for suggesting that Putin deserves “respect.”
Hungarian Prime Minister Viktor Orban plans to meet with Putin next week to discuss a Russian-backed project to expand a Hungarian nuclear power plant.
Still, diplomats and officials said hard-hitting sanctions are being drawn up with the EU’s executive branch, the European Commission. But they were reluctant to say what the measures might be or what action by Russia might trigger them.
The aim, they said, is to try to match the doubts Putin has sowed about his intentions for Ukraine with uncertainty about what any retaliatory European action might look like, or when it would come.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/AP/Defense News)
23 Jan 22. Turkish defense industry thrives as Akıncı UCAV inks 1st export deal. The Turkish defense industry, which has increased its export performance in recent years and aims to be among the top 10 in the world within five years, has recently signed the first export contract for the state-of-the-art unmanned combat aerial vehicle (UCAV) Bayraktar Akıncı, one of the company’s newest products. Istanbul Defense and Aerospace Cluster Association (SAHA) Chairperson of the Board and drone magnate Baykar General Manager Haluk Bayraktar, evaluating the performance of the sector in 2021 told Anadolu Agency (AA) Sunday that Turkey is yielding positive outcomes of its vision of nationalizing defense and aviation products step by step. Bayraktar emphasized that the biggest success for the sector this year is the increase in exports achieved with this vision. The defense and aerospace industry broke a record by exceeding $3bn for the first time in 2021 and made exports totaling $3.22bn (TL 43.3bn).
“The important point here is the development of domestic added value in the export composition, increasing year by year,” Bayraktar said and added that while a strong and independent defense industry is indispensable for Turkey, it is important to strengthen defense and aviation exports to countries with whom Turkey has strategic relations.
“Beyond providing an economic gain, defense exports also provide a suitable basis for establishing strategic relations with the countries to which you export and for the development of all kinds of commercial and social activities with these countries. Therefore, it is of critical importance that the export volume of the sector is effective and sustainable,” he said.
Stating that the sector’s exports have increased significantly in the last 15 years on a dollar basis, Bayraktar informed that the export volume in the Turkish defense and aerospace sector has grown approximately seven times in dollar terms from 2006 to 2021. The sector also now constitutes around 1% of the world’s total defense and aerospace exports.
“This is a great success,” he said, “currently, 75% of the total exports in this field are still realized by the United States, Russia, France, Germany and China.”
Stating that the main goal of the industry is to increase its market share on a global scale and to be among the top 10 exporting countries, Bayraktar said, “If the export volume continues to develop with this trend, we will be among the top 10 countries in defense exports within five years.”
“Turkey, which has reduced its defense imports by 60% today, will reach an important point in the short and medium-term with export-oriented works, based on the increasing number of companies and projects in our sector,” Bayraktar commented.
He further noted that as SAHA Istanbul, they are endeavoring to develop and produce the main platforms, subsystems and critical components nationally together with 704 companies and to export them.
“We have supported 76 companies’ products in creating demand abroad and increasing their competitiveness,” he added.
Noting that in 2021 nearly 100 foreign companies participated in the fair, they will continue to ensure that domestic manufacturers meet with foreign companies this year at the SAHA EXPO 2022 fair that will be held on Oct. 25-28.
UAV, UCAV pioneers
Bayraktar emphasized that thanks to the steps and efforts taken toward developing domestic unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) and UCAVs, both met the needs of the country as well as the technology being exported to the world.
He stated that export contracts were signed with 16 countries for Bayraktar TB2 UCAVs, which completed 420,000 flight hours.
“We have also completed the first export contract of Bayraktar Akıncı UCAV. Within the scope of the contract, we will deliver Bayraktar Akıncı UCAVs and ground systems in 2023. Baykar, which carries out all its projects with its own resources from the research and development (R&D) stage, generates more than 85% of its revenues from exports,” he announced.
Bayraktar said, “thanks to these export revenues,” Baykar creates R&D resources for platforms such as the high-tech Combat Unmanned Aerial System (MIUS) and Bayraktar TB3.
The Baykar official said that “not so many years ago, Turkey’s defense industry was an industry that looked like a contract manufacturer.”
Value-added products developed by Turkey’s defense industry, such as armored vehicles, aircraft, naval platforms, ammunition, UAVs and UCAVs – whose intellectual property and industrial rights completely belong to the country – are exported to 169 countries, including NATO and European Union member states.
“Therefore, we strive to establish our route and target with a national focus. We must increase the rate of domestic production in critical subsystems and components as well as the main platforms developed. With the increase in the number of localized products instead of products subject to export licenses, our industry will grow,” he said.
Bayraktar added that the defense and aerospace industry has led to the introduction of many inventions and technologies that make life easier in the fields of the internet, Global Positioning System (GPS) and medicine all over the world, and added that the development in these sectors heralds those technological solutions to contribute more to daily life soon.
“For example, the UAVs used for the early detection of forest fires today may have an active role in extinguishing these fires in the future with further studies being completed,” he explained. (Source: Google/https://www.dailysabah.com/)
18 Jan 22. Leading academic and research institutions join forces to enhance UK Professional Defence and Security Education or PDSE. In a contract award formally announced on Tuesday 18 January at the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, the King’s Institute for Applied Security Studies (KIASS) will deliver future command and staff academic provision for the Royal College of Defence Studies (RCDS) in London, and the Joint Services Command & Staff College (JSCSC) and Army Division based at the Defence Academy in Shrivenham. KIASS is part of the School of Security Studies, King’s College London and will be supported by the policy research organisation RAND Europe and Cranfield University.
Announcing the contract award, Major General Andrew Roe, the Chief Executive and Commandant of the Defence Academy of the United Kingdom, said: “This exciting new partnership with King’s, supported by RAND Europe and Cranfield University, will deliver our continued goal of ever-evolving educational relevance to meet the needs of Defence. Geopolitics, technology, the character of warfare, and instructional methods will continue to change: our strategy and Professional Defence and Security Education must keep pace and reside at the cutting-edge.
“There is no end-state to our modernisation endeavour: we are in constant evolution and will work closely with our academic partners, with whom we will share this exciting journey, to continue to deliver world-class training and education for UK Defence, our partners across government and our allies.”
King’s has been the long-term academic provider for RCDS and JSCSC, delivering command and staff courses for tri-service and government personnel, as well as international students. The colleges develop critical thinkers and strategic leaders, equipping our people with ‘the intellectual edge’ to meet defence and security challenges of today and tomorrow. Through the new Command and Staff Academic Provision Project (CSAP), KIASS will now build on the existing first-rate education portfolio at JSCSC and RCDS. Students will benefit from an enhanced academic framework that harnesses the combined knowledge, shared expertise and wider reach of the three partner institutions.
Speaking about the contract award, Professor Shitij Kapur, President & Principal of King’s College London, said: “I am delighted that the Ministry of Defence has again chosen King’s in a new collaboration with RAND and Cranfield to be the academic provider for the JSCSC and RCDS at the UK Defence Academy.
“We are proud to build on a 25-year partnership with the UK Defence Academy and look forward to working together to enhance the intellectual capability of students across the military and government to meet the global security and defence challenges we face today and tomorrow.”
Ruth Harris, Research Group Director for Defence & Security at RAND Europe, said: “We are thrilled and proud to be working together with King’s to support education at the UK Defence Academy and look forward to contributing our expertise, helping to navigate uncertainty in the complex defence environment.”
Professor Mark Richardson, Pro-Vice-Chancellor for Cranfield Defence and Security, said: “We are delighted to be part of an outstanding partnership in this important development of the future of education for the Ministry of Defence at the Defence Academy.” (Source: www.joint-forces.com)
21 Jan 22. F-35 to make NATO Southern Air Policing debut. The Lockheed Martin F-35 Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) is to be deployed on NATO’s Southern Air Policing mission for the first time, with the Netherlands announcing on 21 January it is sending jets to Bulgaria.
The Dutch Ministry of Defence (MoD) said it is to send a pair of Royal Netherlands Air Force (RNLAF) F-35As to conduct quick reaction alert (QRA) duties out of Bulgaria during April and May. While the F-35 has flown on NATO’s air policing missions to the Baltic and Iceland, this deployment will be the first time that the ‘stealth’ jet has flown on the Southern Air Policing mission that covers the Black Sea neighbours of Bulgaria and Romania. (Source: Janes)
20 Jan 22. Estonia to spend an additional €380m on national defence.
Facing Kremlin’s threats, the Estonian government on 20 January announced it will spend an additional €380m on national defence “during the upcoming years”; the money is a significant boost to the country’s annual defence budget of about €650m.
The government did not yet specify in detail what the additional funds will be spent on. Kaja Kallas, the country’s prime minister, said in a statement that Estonia “will boost the capabilities” of its defence forces to be “able to react rapidly” and allocate a “significant proportion” of the additional funding to ensure “sufficiency of supplies”, including essential ammunition.
“A significant amount will also be spent on non-military developments of national defence. Among other things, we will be augmenting the abilities under the area of governance of the interior ministry to detect and promptly respond to threats. We will be reinforcing the Border Guard and civil defence. We will also be improving the secure communication solutions used by the foreign service,” the prime minister noted.
Russia’s aim is to restore its influence over its neighbours
Commenting on Russia’s demands in reference to Ukraine and NATO’s presence in its Eastern and Central European member states, the Estonian prime minister said that “Russia’s aim is to restore its political and military influence over its neighbours” and there were no signs that Russia had any plans to ease tensions.
“Considering Estonia’s geographical location and the fact that the demands that have been made partly also apply to us, the [Estonian] government is approaching this issue on four fronts,” Kallas said.
“Firstly, we are working as before to ensure that NATO maintains the clear line it has adopted: we can pursue dialogue with Russia, but we will not go along with any agreement that negatively impacts Estonia’s security or undermines the collective defence offered by NATO. Secondly, we must support Ukraine in every way we can. Thirdly, the defence and deterrence position of NATO’s eastern flank must be reinforced at an even quicker pace. Our aim is for there to be more high-readiness forces as well as plans in place for their use which have been tried and tested in military exercises. We have no room for error in that regard,” the Estonian prime minister stated.
The Estonian government’s response comes as Russia has reportedly mobilised over 100,000 troops on Ukraine’s border and the Russian president Vladimir Putin has tasked his diplomats with securing US and NATO agreement to his demands for a new security order in the Eastern and Central Europe. (Source: https://estonianworld.com/)
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