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10 June 22. Norway to return NH90 helicopters and seek refund. Norway said it would axe its fleet of NH90 military helicopters and ask for a refund from a consortium led by Europe’s Airbus (AIR.PA), which hit back by calling the move “legally groundless”. Norway will return the NH90 military helicopters it ordered from the NHIndustries consortium because they are either unreliable or were delivered late, the defence minister and the head of the military said on Friday. Oslo said it would also seek repayment of 5bn crowns ($523m) plus interest and other costs from NHIndustries, which is owned by Airbus Helicopters (AIR.PA), Italy’s Leonardo (LDOF.MI) and Fokker Aerostructuresof the Netherlands.
“No matter how many hours our technicians work, and how many parts we order, it will never make the NH90 capable of meeting the requirements of the Norwegian Armed Forces,” Defence Minister Bjoern Arild Gram told a news conference.
The helicopter consortium said it was “extremely disappointed” by the decision.
“NHIndustries considers this termination to be legally groundless,” it said in statement.
It said it had not been offered the possibility to discuss the latest proposal made to improve the availability of the NH90 in Norway or address specific Norwegian requirements. Airbus shares fell just over 1%. The original contract for 14 helicopters was signed in 2001 but Norway has received only eight, the ministry said. (Source: Reuters)
08 June 22. Dassault predicts decade of delay for FCAS fighter. Dassault, one of the three primary industrial partners on the trinational Future Combat Air System (FCAS)/Système de Combat Aérien Futur (SCAF), has said that continuing delays to agreeing terms will delay the entry into service of the New Generation Fighter (NGF) element of the programme by at least a decade.
Under the current published timeline, the first flight of the NGF demonstrator was scheduled for 2027, with the final proposed design frozen in 2030 ahead of a proposed in-service date of 2040. Speaking to French media, however, Dassault CEO Éric Trappier said that the current planned in-service date is no longer tenable, with 2050 being a more realistic timeline.
“2040 is already lost because we do not start yet,” Trappier told the BFM TV news channel on 6 June, adding, “So we are left rather for the 2050s.” Dassault’s German partner Airbus told Janes. (Source: Janes)
07 June 22. UK $2.5bn research push targets space sensors, hypersonic tech. Britain’s Ministry of Defence has identified a series of key future technologies in which it plans to invest $2.5bn over the next four years, officials announced on June 7.
The program, called the Science & Technology Portfolio, will aim to underpin development of essential future military capabilities beyond the next generation, the MoD said in a statement. Efforts include the development of a hypersonic weapon demonstrator, new space capabilities, expanded research into artificial intelligence, advanced materials and nuclear submarine systems.
The government said it will spend £2 bn between now and 2026 as part of its £6.6bn ($8.3bn) total research and development budget earmarked in the 2021 Strategic Review.
The British military’s research arm, the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory, or Dstl, published its list of priorities for the spending plan earlier this week. It includes information about 25 programs in the portfolio expected to attract significant funding and collaborative opportunities for industry and academia.
“Notably, this portfolio pivots emphasis in science and technology towards key capability challenges and high-risk, generation-after-next research in emerging and little understood technologies,” reads a Dstl statement.
Defense officials highlighted a collaborative space program Dstl is conducting with the U.S. Naval Research Laboratory to illustrate its ambitions for the portfolio approach.
The Coordinated Ionospheric Reconstruction Cubesat Experiment (CIRCE) – a miniature space weather sensor suite onboard two satellites each the size of a cereal box – is planned for launch later this year.
The mission will see three British-developed sensors, alongside sensors provided by NRL, fitted to two Blue Canyon Technologies 6U satellites to collect space weather data.
Both of the CIRCE project satellites are slated to be launched alongside other payloads from a Virgin Orbit LauncherOne rocket mounted on the wing of a Boeing 747-400.
It would be the first-ever satellite launch undertaken from the U.K.
The aircraft is likely to be flown by Royal Air Force pilot Squadron Leader Matthew Stannard, who has already been part of a Virgin Orbit mission launching satellites from a base in California earlier this year.
The British miniature sensors have been developed for Dstl by University College London, the University of Bath and Surrey Satellite Technology.
The sensor suites will monitor changes within the ionosphere – a layer of the Earth’s atmosphere about 30 miles to 600 miles above the surface – where variations in the environment can interfere with the operation of GPS, communications and sensing technology.(Source: Defense News)
07 June 22. German chancellor Olaf Scholz has backed demands by EU Baltic states for a big increase in the number of foreign troops in the region ahead of a crucial Nato summit this month. Baltic countries have asked for the multinational battalions of about 1,000 soldiers in each nation to be converted into brigades, typically made up of 3,000-5,000 troops. “We are ready to strengthen our engagement and to develop it towards a robust combat brigade,” Scholz said at a press conference in Vilnius with Baltic leaders. Strengthening the defence of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania will be one of the most important decisions Nato has to take at its Madrid summit on June 29-30 as the military alliance takes stock of the changed world since Russia’s full-scale war against Ukraine. Until now Nato has relied on a “tripwire” approach in the Baltics involving a small number of troops, which would in all likelihood be overrun by a Russian invasion before being reinforced from Poland and the rest of the continent. But Baltic leaders are pressing Nato to try to repel any Russian attack fully from the start. As well as brigades on the ground, they want the current regional air policing mission to be turned into one of air defence, which gives fighter jets the possibility to shoot down enemy aircraft. Germany, which has already boosted its troop numbers in Lithuania after the Russian invasion as well as agreeing massively to increase its defence spending, becomes one of the first European countries to publicly endorse the Baltic approach. (Source: FT.com)
07 June 22. United Kingdom: Prime Minister survives vote of no confidence, although margin indicates stability risks will persist in short term. Yesterday (6 June) UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson survived a vote of no confidence among the ruling Conservative Party, as MPs voted 211 to 148 in favour of the Prime Minister. Despite surviving the vote, the margin of victory is the worst suffered by any Prime Minister in British history, and at the time of writing it is highly unlikely that the vote’s outcome has ameliorated divisions within the Conservative Party. This has led several Conservative MPs and Whitehall sources to state that a ‘civil war’ within the Conservative Party is in the offing and will likely risk future government stability. Although the Prime Minister has (as of 7 June) stated that he will not call a snap election, in an attempt to shore up his support within the Conservative Party, it is very likely that further divisions within the Party will prompt further votes of no confidence at the parliamentary level, or a snap election to resolve the issue, prolonging instability risks in the short term. (Source: Sibylline)
07 June 22. France: Heightened policy risk as record inflation and stagnant growth threatens French purchasing power. On the 6 June, France’s Institute of Statistics and Economic Studies (INSEE) reported that between January to May inflation doubled, reaching 5.2%. The INSEE has accredited this to an acceleration in the prices of energy, services, food and manufactured goods. The government has implemented a range of policies to bolster the economic outlook, including furlough programmes and unprecedented state subsidies to businesses. Although France experienced post-pandemic GDP growth of seven percent with unemployment falling to 7.3 per cent the lowest rate since 2008, policy risk for businesses remains elevated as the supply-demand imbalance for energy products has grown, and inflationary pressures have risen. Rising food and fuel costs will weaken France’s socio-economic health and serve as a driver of domestic unrest into 2023. (Source: Sibylline)
03 June 22. Neutral Swiss spell out rules for re-export of arms. Switzerland reiterated on Friday it would not as a neutral country allow the re-export of Swiss arms to conflict zones but this did not cover some Swiss-manufactured parts that other countries may use to make weapons.
Pressure has mounted on Switzerland to take a more active role helping Ukraine defend itself against Russian invaders. The Bern government has vetoed Denmark’s request to send Swiss-made armoured personnel carriers to Ukraine, blocked re-export of Swiss-made ammunition used in anti-aircraft tanks that Germany is sending to Ukraine, and rejected Poland’s request for arms to help its neighbour resist Russia.
“Based on the export criteria described in the War Materiel Act and the principle of equal treatment under the law of neutrality, Switzerland cannot approve requests to transfer Swiss-produced war materiel to Ukraine. However, deliveries of war materiel supplies in the form of individual parts or assembly packages can still be made to European defence companies, even if these parts or packages will be used to produce war materiel abroad that could later be transferred to Ukraine,” the government said.
It did allow two requests by Swiss companies to export individual parts and assembly packages to defence companies in Germany and Italy. One concerned components for hand-held anti-tank weapons, the other for anti-aircraft weapons components.
“It has generally been the Federal Council’s practice to approve the export of individual parts and assembly packages if their share in the end product’s value remains below a certain threshold (less than 50% in the case of Italy or Germany). The Federal Council has decided to continue this practice. Exports of this kind are compatible with the law of neutrality,” it said.
Switzerland’s defence procurement office had earlier said it had given the go-ahead for Germany to freely dispose of Leopard 2 tanks previously sold back to defence group Rheinmetall.
“Germany can freely dispose of Leopard 2 tanks already sold back to the Rheinmetall company twelve years ago, as there are no longer any requirements here,” the procurement office said.
“Mothballed Leopard 2 tanks will not be passed on to Poland; this would require a decommissioning and thus a decision by parliament,” it added.
03 June 22. Nations Undergo Rigorous Process to Join NATO. Finland and Sweden filed letters of application to officially join The North Atlantic Treaty Organization on May 18, but joining NATO is not an overnight process. State Department officials have said nations that want to enter NATO must meet five requirements:
New members must uphold democracy, which includes tolerating diversity.
New members must be in the midst of making progress toward a market economy.
The nations’ military forces must be under firm, civilian control.
The nations must be good neighbors and respect sovereignty outside their borders.
The nations must be working toward compatibility with NATO forces.
Finland and Sweden meet the majority of requirements to enter NATO economically, governmentally and militarily, but new members must be invited by a consensus of existing NATO members, State Department officials said.
State Department officials said a key determining factor for any invitation to new members is whether their admission to NATO will strengthen the alliance and further the basic objective of NATO enlargement, which is to increase security and stability across Europe.
The process is overseen by the North Atlantic Council, which is NATO’s governing body.
“All allies agree on the importance of NATO enlargement,” Stoltenberg told representatives of Finland and Sweden. “We all agree that this is an historic moment, which we must seize.”
After Russia invaded Ukraine in February, Swedish and Finnish officials said their countries wanted to join NATO and benefit from the organization’s collective defense strategy. Collective defense, outlined in Article 5 of NATO’s treaty, says “an attack on one member of the alliance is an attack on all.”
When both nations filed applications, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg welcomed their requests, saying the countries are NATO’s closest partners. “Your membership in NATO would increase our shared security,” he said.
“Allies will now consider the next steps on your path to NATO. The security interests of all allies have to be taken into account, and we are determined to work through all issues and reach rapid conclusions,” Stoltenberg said.
Created in 1949 as a military alliance following World War II, NATO rests on the “collective defense” principle. It guarantees the freedom and security of member nations through political and military means, according to the NATO website.
Politically, NATO promotes democratic values and enables members to consult and cooperate to solve defense and security-related issues, build trust and prevent conflict, according to the organization’s website. Militarily, NATO is committed to the peaceful resolution of disputes. If diplomatic efforts fail, it has the military power to undertake crisis-management operations.
Military power is carried out under the collective defense clause of NATO’s founding treaty — Article 5 of the Washington Treaty — or under a United Nations mandate. This can be done alone or in cooperation with other countries and international organizations, according to NATO’s website.
Thirty nations are NATO members: the United States, United Kingdom, Belgium, Canada, Denmark, France, Iceland, Italy, Luxembourg, Netherlands, Norway, Portugal, Albania, Lithuania, Bulgaria, Montenegro, Croatia, Czech Republic, Poland, Estonia, Romania, Germany, Slovakia, Greece, Slovenia, Hungary, Spain, Turkey, Latvia and North Macedonia. (Source: US DoD)
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