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24 Mar 22. Greek officials sign contract for three Naval Group frigates. The Greek government has signed the paperwork for three new French frigates, plus a fourth if things go well, in a deal that could be worth around $3.5bn. The March 24 announcement follows a strategic defense partnership between the countries initiated last fall by French President Emmanuel Macron and Greek Prime Minister Kyriakos Mitsotakis. The signature on the frigate purchase, ceremoniously delivered in Athens, sets in motion a tight production schedule that will see two ships delivered in 2025 and one in 2026.
The deal with France’s Naval Group puts to rest speculation about whether Lockheed Martin was hoping for a last-minute snatch of a similar sale to the Hellenic Navy. The U.S. defense giant is known to be in the running for naval business opportunities in Greece, pursuing work to upgrade existing vessels and, if the chance arises, to build entire warships.
Naval Group CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet and retired Vice Adm. Aristeidis Alexopoulos, Greece’s military-acquisition chief, today signed the contract for new frigates of the French shipbuilder’s FDI variant, which stands for frégate de defense et d’intervention. French Defense Minister Florence Parly and her Greek counterpart, Nikolaos Panagiotopoulos, also attended the festivities.
“With defense and intervention frigates, Greece completes and strengthens its ability to act,” Parly said. “It will have buildings equipped with a latest generation combat system, powerful, capable of protecting the approaches to Greece and defending its national interests.”
The envisioned Greek ships contribute to a naval modernization trend in the Mediterranean Sea. The region is a key transit hub for major international shipping lanes, it borders volatile Middle East hotspots, and disputes over energy resources buried beneath the ocean floor have flared up in recent years.
Naval Group says the FDI frigates’ air and surface combat power stems from modern sensors such as the Thales Sea Fire radar. The ships boast a novel, integrated mast combining all on-board sensor signals for permanent, 360-degree surveillance of the surroundings, according to the shipbuilder.
Weaponry includes Naval Group’s MU90 torpedos as well as Exocet anti-ship and Aster anti-aircraft missiles made by MBDA. The ship type also sports space for a 10-ton helicopter and an aerial drone.
Notably, Naval Group’s CANTO anti-torpedo weapon also is part of the package for Greece. The system consists of small, launchable decoys constantly emitting a flood of signals in efforts to misguide incoming torpedoes away from the ship, effectively running them out of gas. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/Defense News)
23 Mar 22. Kosovo Serb voting within Kosovo in Serbia’s elections: joint statement. The governments of France, Germany, Italy, UK and USA regret the lack of agreement to enable Kosovo Serb voting within Kosovo in Serbia’s forthcoming elections. Joint statement by the governments of France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States: France, Germany, Italy, the United Kingdom and the United States have intensely engaged with the governments of Kosovo and Serbia in the past months in order to find a pragmatic solution to allow eligible Kosovo citizens to exercise their right to participate in Serbia’s elections on 3 April 3 2022.
We acknowledge that it is the Kosovo Government’s prerogative to decide whether or not to permit facilitation of voting in another country’s elections. While we appreciate Serbia’s availability to find a solution, it is with great disappointment that we take note of the Kosovo Government’s decision to reject a constructive proposal presented by the Quint. With this decision, Kosovo’s Government failed to demonstrate its commitment to the principle of protecting the civil and political rights of all its citizens, including of members of minority groups.
Such an attitude of the Kosovo Government is not in line with our values and principles and will undermine their European aspirations.
Following Russia’s invasion of Ukraine, we welcomed Kosovo’s alignment with the statements and declarations EU and the Quint members adopted. However, Kosovo is also expected to uphold its core values and responsibility towards regional stability and respect democratic processes, as well as to commit to protection of the rights of members of minority groups.
We expect the Kosovo Government to act in the interests of all its citizens, to work to decrease tensions and to engage constructively in the EU-facilitated Dialogue on normalisation of relations with Serbia. This is crucial to achieve progress towards a comprehensive normalisation agreement that will ultimately unlock the EU perspective of Kosovo.
We reiterate our strong call upon Kosovo and Serbia to refrain from any actions and rhetoric that increase tensions and may lead to incidents.
22 Mar 22. Building new reactors across the country and new ships in yards at home with UK steel will help local communities thrive, says GMB Union. GMB Union has called on Chancellor Rishi Sunak to fully commit to new nuclear power stations and massively ramp up defence spending in the Spring Statement this week [23 March 2022].
With the cost-of-living crisis hitting hard and set to get even worse with the conflict in Ukraine, GMB says only new nuclear and defence spending can give the UK the energy and security required.
New nuclear is already a huge success story at Hinkley Point C, creating 22,000 jobs, while similar proposed projects at Wylfa, in Wales, and Sizewell C, in East Anglia look set to bring massive benefits to the wider economy.
Small Modular Reactors (SMRs) have a big role to play in generating the energy we need and alongside the factories required for their production, will help bring essential employment and prosperity to local communities.
Meanwhile a firm commitment to increase defence spending would stimulate the economy and shore up UK steel and shipbuilding – as long as Ministers finally commit to building ships in the UK using UK steel.
Gary Smith, GMB General Secretary, said:
“The cost-of-living crisis is hitting people hard – and it’s about to get much worse.
“We face a massive energy price rise in April, while the invasion of Ukraine will hugely affect the UK’s energy security and supply.
“Rishi Sunak must use his Spring Statement to fully commit to new nuclear.
“New nuclear isn’t just about Wylfa and Sizewell C. The Moorside site neighbouring Sellafield is available to be a perfect home for the new Small Modular Reactors that will play a major part in delivering the nation’s energy and prosperity for local communities.
“We need immediate action on energy bills – that’s why GMB is calling for emergency legislation to ring-fence a fair share of North Sea gas for domestic industries and households.
“Meanwhile we must massively increase our defence spending to boost the economy and shore up UK steel and shipbuilding. Inflation means our defence spending is currently falling at the worst possible time. 
“But this administration must stop sending crucial defence contracts overseas and finally commit to building UK ships in the UK yards, with UK steel.”
18 Mar 22. Germany defence budget exceeds EUR50bn. German Finance Minister Christian Linder presented his country’s second draft budget for 2022 and Financial Plan 2022–26 to the federal cabinet on 16 March. The core allocation to defence increased by a nominal 7.3% compared to 2021, reaching EUR50.33bn (USD56.8bn). Under Financial Plan 2022–26, military expenditure will remain at around EUR50.1bn for the next four years, essentially eliminating the cuts that were initially forecast for 2023–25 in the previous finance plan released in June 2021. The core budget will remain constant in nominal terms but will slide from 1.32% of GDP in 2022 to 1.15% by 2026. However, in his government statement to the Bundestag, Germany’s parliament, on 27 February, Chancellor Olaf Scholz said Germany was moving towards spending 2% of GDP on defence. He also announced the federal budget for 2022 would implement a one-off special fund for defence worth EUR100bn. On 16 March the federal cabinet approved draft legislation to incorporate the special fund into Basic Law, Germany’s post-World War 2 constitution, meaning it is not subject to the debt brake balanced budget rule. (Source: Janes)
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 Homeland 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