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24 June 22. Royal Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office announce review of Project Mosquito.
Project Mosquito, the future uncrewed Combat Aircraft Technology Demonstration being explored by the Royal Air Force Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO), will not proceed beyond the design phase.
The decision, taken by mutual agreement with industry partners, follows a detailed review of the technical demonstrator and the broader Lightweight Affordable Novel Combat Aircraft (LANCA) Programme.
Air Commodore Jez Holmes, Head of the Rapid Capabilities Office said: “Through Project Mosquito and other experimentation activities the Royal Air Force has made substantial progress and gained significant value in understanding and harnessing a range of future uncrewed capabilities. This decision maximises the learning accrued to date and enables a change of direction for the LANCA programme. The Rapid Capabilities Office will now quickly launch activities to aggressively pursue the RAF’s unchanged firm commitment to integrate advanced uncrewed capabilities into the near-term force mix with more immediate beneficial value.
The Royal Air Force’s Rapid Capabilities Office (RCO) aims to enhance capability delivered to the front line, explore opportunities presented by emerging technologies, and leverage diversity in thought with novel and innovative ways of working.”
Deciding to not proceed with the specific manufacturing technology demonstrator will not impact on the wider intent to build the most capable and cost-effective force mix possible, or the “Loyal Wingman” concepts under investigation within the Future Combat Air System Enterprise. The programme remains focused on the post-2035 capability space, where integration through a system-of-systems approach has been a key requirement from the outset.
The decision was informed by parallel analysis and capability experimentation conducted by the RAF and the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl). The accumulation of analysis concluded that more beneficial capability and cost-effectiveness appears achievable through exploration of smaller, less costly, but still highly capable additive capabilities.
BATTLESPACE Comment: This loos like move to position the UK to buy the Boeing Australia Loyal Wingman aerial vehicle as part of the offset undertakings under the Hunt Class frigate and submarine Programmes. No doubt elemts of Mosquito will be retained to make it ‘UK compliant.’
23 June 22. Bulgaria: Government Brought Down.
On 22 June, a vote of no confidence in the ruling government under Prime Minister Kiril Petkov resulted in a successful motion. In all, 123 members of the Bulgarian Parliament voted against the government, compared to 116 who voted in favour. The vote follows the departure of coalition partner ITN earlier in the week over disagreements with the prime minister on the prospect of lifting Bulgaria’s veto on North Macedonian accession talks with the EU.
- Petkov’s government will now remain in a caretaker role until new elections are called. Bulgaria’s veto on North Macedonian accession to the EU will be maintained at the EU Summit this week. To date, Petkov has refused to enter into coalition talks with opposition parties. However, he is seeking defections from Bulgarian MPs to secure support for a fresh government and to avoid early elections.
- Despite Petkov’s efforts to attract defections, a snap election is the most likely outcome of yesterday’s vote. Petkov, who came to office on a pro-EU, anti-corruption ticket, has pursued unusually pro-NATO and pro-EU-integration policies. He has worked hard to reverse Bulgaria’s traditionally amenable stance towards Russia, refusing to pay Moscow for gas inflows in rubles. This has earned him staunch opposition among Bulgaria’s more pro-Russian parties. These parties decry Petkov’s decision to sack the incumbent defence minister for refusing to call the Russian invasion of Ukraine an act of war, as well as his support for EU sanctions against Moscow. Many Bulgarian politicians believe these sanctions will increase the risk of the Kremlin imposing punitive gas cuts on Bulgaria.
- With Bulgaria now likely to face its fourth general election since June 2021, there is an elevated risk that pro-Russian political groupings will benefit from the governmental instability, particularly as anti-refugee sentiment rises and public fears over Russian gas cuts intensify ahead of the winter. However, there is no clear timeline for a snap election and Petkov will likely seek to delay the process as long as possible while he seeks to attract defectors from moderate parties.
The most immediate threat posed to businesses by yesterday’s successful vote of no confidence is to energy stability. Should the formulation of a new government be delayed, as presently appears highly likely, Bulgarian efforts to secure additional gas inflows will be similarly prolonged. This will substantially affect attempts to fill gas storage reserves ahead of the winter. Food and fuel prices will also continue to increase, driving not only food and energy security risks, but also the prospect of domestic unrest in the winter months. As such, Western firms operating in Bulgaria will face an elevated risk of power cuts in the short term as gas-saving schemes are implemented. In the longer-term, there is a risk of a hostile investment environment emerging should Bulgaria’s future government include a substantial pro-Russian grouping. (Source: Sibylline)
23 June 22. Italy: Split within Five Star Movement increases government instability risks. On 21 June, Italy’s Foreign Minister Luigi Di Maio has announced that he is leaving the populist Five Star Movement, the biggest coalition party in the government, following disagreements regarding the Five Star’s stance on arms deliveries to Ukraine. Di Maio has since formed a new parliamentary group called ’Together for the Future’ to support Prime Minister Draghi’s foreign policy on the war in Ukraine, with many Five Star MPs following him to the new party. Despite Di Maio’s declared support for Draghi’s government, the split within the Five Star Movement threatens the stability of Draghi’s multi-party coalition. On 22 June, Five Star leader Giuseppe Conte said that he is not considering pulling out from the governing coalition, although if many MPs followed Di Maio to the new party in the coming weeks, he could change his stance on supporting Prime Minister Draghi’s unity government, increasing government stability risks ahead of the next general election in early 2023. (Source: Sibylline)
23 June 22. UK lacks ammunition to fight long war in Ukraine, says Ben Wallace. The West would struggle to mount a long-term “offensive” war because it has failed to stockpile enough ammunition, Ben Wallace, the defence secretary, has admitted.
Speaking at a military headquarters in northwest London, he said Europe, including Britain, and the United States had “hollowed out’’ their forces so they looked “good at the front” but did not have sufficient supply lines. They had realised as a result of the war in Ukraine that their stocks were “inadequate” for the threats they faced, he said.
Russia’s invasion has thrown a spotlight on how many shells and bullets are used during intense fighting and the need to be able to resupply ammunition to the front line.
An analysis for the Royal United Services Institute (Rusi) suggests Russia has fired as many as 7,176 artillery rounds a day during the conflict, which is now focused on the eastern Donbas region.
Four months into the war, Ukrainian and Russian forces are believed to be running out of ammunition, with the Ukrainians reliant on Nato-standard 155mm shells. Allies have donated more than 300,000 rounds of ammunition to Ukraine, leaving themselves short.
Asked whether Britain was running out of ammunition, Wallace suggested that western supply lines no longer existed as they used to. He said: “I think over the decades as armed forces have sought to save money they have hollowed out. It looks good at the front but actually if you don’t have the stocks you are in trouble.
“All the armies in the West including the United States have realised their ammunition stocks . . . are inadequate for the threats we face. We are not the only ones. The Russians have discovered that.”
In war games last year, the British Army ran out of ammunition after eight days. Lieutenant General Ben Hodges, former commander of the US army in Europe, told MPs that the “entire British Army’s inventory” was exhausted and “every bit of important ammunition was expended” before the ten-day online war simulation finished.
According to the analysis for Rusi by Alex Vershinin, an expert on defence acquisition, US annual artillery production would at best only last for ten days to two weeks of combat in Ukraine.
Wallace said that the UK kept a “critical amount” of ammunition, which was enough to defend itself. However, he cautioned that a long-term “offensive” war would be difficult. “The West would struggle if it had to engage in a long term offensive matter,” he said in a briefing outside the Ministry of Defence’s permanent joint headquarters in Northwood.
Boris Johnson and Wallace held talks with industry leaders at No 10 on Monday on “reinvigorating supply chains” for weapons. Wallace said that the MoD was in discussions with BAE Systems about producing more 155mm rounds. It is understood the MoD has ordered more Nlaw anti-tank weapons, having given more than 4,000 to Kyiv.
Wallace said the MoD did not need more money yet, but left the door open to requests for a budget increase in the near future.
Having sent large amounts of its equipment to Ukraine, the MoD is increasingly looking at buying weapons from abroad to deliver there. (Source: The Times)
22 June 22. Estonia would be wiped off the map and the historic centre of its capital city razed to the ground under current Nato plans to defend the country from any Russian attack, according to its prime minister. Kaja Kallas told reporters on Wednesday that the alliance’s existing defence plans for the three Baltic states was to allow them to be overrun before liberating them after 180 days. Remarking that it was now more than 100 days since Russia began its full-scale invasion of Ukraine, Estonia’s prime minister said: “If you compare the sizes of Ukraine and the Baltic countries, it would mean the complete destruction of countries and our culture.” She added: “Those of you who have been to [the capital] Tallinn and know our old town and the centuries of history that’s here and centuries of culture that’s here — that would all be wiped off the map, including our people, our nation.” Her comments came ahead of a Nato summit in Madrid next Tuesday, at which the alliance will discuss plans for the defence of its eastern flank in light of Moscow’s invasion of Ukraine, including how to better defend the Baltic countries. Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania are pushing for the current strategy of having a thousand or so foreign troops in each country to act as a tripwire to be replaced by one in which Nato seeks to defend every inch of territory from the first day, especially after seeing Russian atrocities in Ukraine. Commenting on what she called Nato’s plan “to lose it and liberate it afterwards”, she said the atrocities allegedly carried out by Russian troops in the Ukrainian town of Bucha took place about 80 days after the invasion began. “Now everyone sees that this tripwire concept. (Source: FT.com)
22 June 22. DOD Official Touts Sweden, Finland Joining NATO. A Department of Defense official strongly urged the Senate Foreign Relations Committee to quickly approve the request of Finland and Sweden to join NATO.
“The Department of Defense assesses that Finland and Sweden are ready for NATO membership,” Celeste A. Wallander, assistant secretary of defense for international security affairs, said at a Senate Foreign Relations Committee hearing today.
Finland and Sweden would provide additional security and stability in Europe, Wallander said. The two Baltic nations already have close bilateral defense relationships with the United States, she said. The two nations also have close working relationships and military interoperability with NATO militaries.
The fact that Sweden and Finland petitioned to join the defensive alliance is a sign of how much the security environment has changed with Russia’s unprovoked invasion of Ukraine. Both nations have been partners with NATO for decades, but really saw no need to join the treaty organization.
But Putin’s invasion of Ukraine caused a seismic shift in public opinion in both countries, and the legislatures of both countries quickly debated and ratified a motion to join the 30-nation alliance.
Both Finland and Sweden are ready to contribute to alliance defense now, Wallander said. Finland maintains general conscription and has a well-manned and trained reserve that can be called up quickly, which is imperative since Finland shares a long border with Russia.
“Finland’s location on the Baltic Sea, diplomatic experience with Russia and advanced capabilities make it an asset to the alliance,” she said. “Finland spends more than 2 percent of its on defense, and possesses unique military capabilities and expertise, particularly operating in the arctic environment.”
Sweden’s accession into NATO would bring “a first rate and rapidly growing military with a principled foreign policy that ardently defends democracy and human rights,” Wallander said.
Sweden also maintains a world class defense industry. Sweden’s “military expertise in the Arctic and undersea environments would substantially advance alliance capabilities,” she said.
Sweden already has interoperability with NATO forces. The kingdom became a NATO Partnership for Peace member in 1994, and a NATO enhanced opportunities partner in 2014.
“Sweden has contributed to or supported NATO missions in Afghanistan, Bosnia and Herzegovina, Iraq, Kosovo and Libya,” she said.
Finally, Wallander said both nations “are thriving democracies that share our values and fit the ideals of the North Atlantic Treaty.” (Source: US DoD)
22 June 22. Finland is ready to fight Russia if attacked – defence chief. Finland has prepared for decades for a Russian attack and would put up stiff resistance should one occur, its armed forces chief said.
The Nordic country has built up a substantial arsenal. But aside from the military hardware, General Timo Kivinen said, a crucial factor is that Finns would be motivated to fight.
“The most important line of defence is between one’s ears, as the war in Ukraine proves at the moment,” Kivinen said in an interview.
Finland fought two wars in the 1940s against its eastern neighbour, with which it shares a 1,300-km (810-mile) border.
Once a non-aligned country, it is now applying to join the NATO military alliance over concerns that Russia could invade like it did Ukraine on Feb. 24. Since World War Two, Helsinki has kept up a high level of military preparedness.
“We have systematically developed our military defence precisely for this type of warfare that is being waged there (in Ukraine), with a massive use of firepower, armoured forces and also airforces,” Kivinen said.
“Ukraine has been a tough bite to chew (for Russia) and so would be Finland.”
Some 100,000 Finns were killed during the two wars Finland fought against the Soviet Union and it lost a tenth of its territory.
The nation of 5.5m has a wartime troop strength of some 280,000 with 870,000 trained as reservists. It did not abolish military conscription for males as many other western nations did after the end of the Cold War.
It has also built one of Europe’s strongest artilleries and has stocked up on cruise missiles with a range of up to 370km (230 miles). It spends 2% of its GDP on defence, a level higher than many NATO countries.
It is ordering four new warships, as well as 64 F-35 fighter jets from U.S. defence giant Lockheed Martin (LMT.N).
It plans to order up to 2,000 drones, its own high altitude anti-aircraft equipment and is building barriers on its border with Russia. read more
Some 82% of respondents in a May 18 poll by the defence ministry said they would be willing to participate in national defence if Finland was attacked.
Still, Kivinen welcomed Finland’s decision to apply to join NATO. Finland and fellow Nordic country Sweden are in talks with Turkey to discuss the latter’s opposition to their applications.
Ankara has been angered by what it says is Helsinki and Stockholm’s support for Kurdish militants and arms embargoes on Turkey. read more
NATO membership would allow Finland to boost its early warning capacity by being part of the alliance’s joint airspace control, Kivinen said.
Finland would also benefit from the deterrence of being part of an alliance in which an attack on one member is an attack on all its members, he said.
Nevertheless, he said, “the main responsibility for Finland’s defence will still be borne by Finland”. ($1 = 0.9455 euros) (Source: Google/Reuters)
22 June 22. France: Political parties scramble to secure a parliamentary majority, but government instability and policy risks remain high. On 21-22 June, French President Emmanuel Macron is meeting with opposition leaders, including far right’s Marine Le Pen, in an attempt to secure support from opposition parties and avoid political paralysis in France. After losing the parliamentary majority, Prime Minister Elisabeth Borne offered her resignation which Macron refused to accept. At the same time, left-wing parties rejected Jean-Luc Mélenchon’s proposal to form a common parliamentary group united in opposition to President Macron’s party, which could make it easier for Macron to secure support from various opposition parties on a case-by-case basis. Nevertheless, policy and government instability risks will remain elevated in France in the short to medium term, as political parties remain ideologically divided on key legislative reforms. (Source: Sibylline)
22 June 22. Bulgaria: Government faces a vote of confidence, elevating the risk of political instability and early elections. On 22 June, Prime Minister Kiril Petkov’s government, which came into power only in December last year, faces a vote of confidence following Slavi Trifonov, leader of the populist ‘There is such people’ party, withdrawing from the governing coalition earlier in June. The vote of confidence was, however, initiated by GERB, the party of former Prime Minister Borissov who ruled the country for almost a decade but was forced to step down because of rampant corruption under his leadership. Regional tensions could increase with the European Union if the pro-NATO Petkov government falls and a more pro-Russian government is formed. At the time of writing, it looks likely that the government will fail to win enough votes today, meaning that Bulgaria could be heading to its fourth parliamentary election since last spring, further elevating political instability, domestic unrest, and policy risks in the country. (Source: Sibylline)
20 Jun 22. France: Macron Loses Parliamentary Majority. On 19 June, French President Emmanuel Macron’s Ensemble coalition lost its majority in the French National Assembly less than two months after being re-elected as president, owing to strong performance by the green-left alliance and the far-right. President Macron’s Ensemble alliance will remain the largest parliamentary group, but it has lost over a hundred deputies, gaining only 245 seats in the 577-seat National Assembly, well short of the 289 required for a majority. Considering that President Macron will likely struggle to enact legislation due to his lack of a parliamentary majority, the increased support of political parties on the two ends of the political spectrum will increase domestic unrest and policy risks as well as government instability in France in the coming 5 years.
- Far-left leader Jean-Luc Mélenchon was able to bring together major left-wing parties, including his La France Insoumise, the Socialist Party, the French Communist Party, Ensemble!, Génération.s and Europe Ecology – The Greens to form the NUPES coalition ahead of the election. The left-wing coalition won 131 parliamentary seats, making Jen-Luc Mélenchon leader of the biggest opposition force in France. Meanwhile, Marine Le Pen and her far-right National Rally gained 89 seats in this election after winning only 8 seats in the 2017 parliamentary election, indicating an unprecedented rise in the far-right’s representation in the French parliament. At the same time, the centre-right Les Republicains only won 61 seats.
- The lack of cooperation in parliament on crucial policy reforms could exacerbate France’s existing socioeconomic problems. To implement reforms, Macron’s Ensemble will have to form temporary alliances and deals on specific policy areas. One such alliance could be with the conservative Les Républicains who were willing to support Macron’s economic and pension reforms in the past, therefore, they are likely to support some policies of Ensemble in the future. It is also likely that Macron’s party will be able to work together with the Europe Ecology – The Greens party and other members of the NUPES coalition to implement legislation tackling climate change.
- Macron’s cabinet is also facing a reshuffle due to Macron’s policy that ministers who fail to be reelected also lose their jobs in the cabinet. Of Macron’s 28-strong cabinet, 15 ministers were standing for re-election, with 3 of them losing their seats, including Amélie de Montchalin, Minister for Ecological Transition, Brigitte Bourguignon, Minister for Health, and Justine Benin, Secretary of State for the Sea. At this point it is yet unclear whether Macron will make a dramatic overhaul and bring in ministers who reflect the views of the parties with which he may attempt to form a coalition with.
Macron’s loss of a ruling majority indicates widerspread dissatisfaction and disillusionment with his agenda in France. His lack of absolute majority in the National Assembly will severely disrupt Macron’s ability to implement his reform packages, and political and ideological differences between the largest parties of the National Assembly will likely lead to frequent disruptions to legislation and political deadlocks over the next 5 years, increasing domestic unrest and government instability risks. The green-left and far-right surge will elevate policy risks in the country, and it is possible that the new National Assembly will prevent Macron from delivering its plans to increase the retirement age and implement tax reforms. The surge in far-left and far-right votes indicates increasing political polarisation in the country that will further drive ethno-religious tensions and extremism in the country.
Macron will also face new domestic challenges to implementing his foreign policy agenda considering the rise of pro-Russian and Eurosceptic political groups like the National Rally and La France Insoumise. As such, Macron’s loss of parliamentary majority will likely undermine his international role as a strong leader of European foreign and security policy as well. (Source: Sibylline)
19 June 22. Submarine hunter planes needed as ‘expansionist’ Russia ramps up spy operations on UK borders. Britain must expand its arsenal, say RAF commanders, as ‘expansionist’ Kremlin patrols North Atlantic more than during the Cold War. The Russian Navy’s Petropavlovsk-Kamchatsky submarine. Britain needs to expand its arsenal of submarine hunter planes by a third to combat Russian spy operations on our borders, senior RAF commanders have warned. Russia is carrying out more submarine patrols in the North Atlantic than during the Cold War, with sightings “doubling” in the past 10 years, they said. The UK has nine P-8 Poseidon Maritime Patrol Aircraft (MPA), costing £120m apiece, to protect our nuclear-armed submarines and track enemy vessels.
Wing Cdr Ben Livesy told The Telegraph that unless the Government increases the MPA fleet to 12, Britain’s ability to launch a “credible response” against an “aggressive” and “expansionist” Russia “will be tested to the limit”.
Doing so will place the UK on a par with Australia and India, with 12 MPAs each, but still far behind the US, which boasts 128.
The jets, housed at RAF Lossiemouth on the north-east coast of Scotland, use sonobuoys – small sonar devices dropped into the water – to pick up engine and propeller sounds from submarines.
P8s can carry 129 sonobuoys – costing up to £5,000 each – along with five Mark 54 lightweight torpedoes, used to sink submarines directly from the air, during their 10-hour sorties.
The jets can also be deployed to tackle illegal fishing and criminal gangs smuggling shipping containers of heroin into the UK.
The Telegraph was given exclusive access to the Poseidon’s capabilities during a Nato training exercise, codenamed Dynamic Mongoose, in the Norwegian sea on Wednesday.
Wing Commander Ben Livesy, an RAF veteran of 22 years who specialises in hunting down enemy submarines, told The Telegraph: “Russians are busier now than they were in the Cold War.
“To call it an expansionist Russia is an understatement. I do not think we can take Russia for granted. We have to respect the threat that they represent.
“We have to have the ability in our arsenal to respond to it. If you do defence on the cheap, you do not have that credible response … you get worse sensors, cannot travel as far and spend less time in the air.”
He said Russia has rapidly expanded its submarine arsenal in the past decade, partly in response to David Cameron’s decision to axe the “spy in the sky” fleet of Nimrods in 2010.
“We are seeing behaviour by an expansionist Russia that some people would never have expected. Our fleets are being used more than ever expected,” he added.
He said they were detecting roughly “double” the number of Russian submarines than they were 10 years ago. Having an extra three P-8s would allow intelligence services to “exploit” far more surveillance data gathered during flights, he added.
Enemy submarines will often lie underneath commercial fishing vessels, on the very edge of Britain’s 12-mile nautical border, and use the roar of the ship’s engines to mask their presence, he said.
Wing Cdr Livesy said it would make most “economical sense” to purchase the extra three jets from the US now, as Boeing’s production facilities are already in full swing.
“We have a time-banded opportunity to do so,” he said.
However, he acknowledged the cost of purchasing the aircraft against the backdrop of inflation, soaring energy bills and funding for the NHS.
“The Treasury is trapped in a game of which mouth not to feed,” he said.
“How much money does he (Boris Johnson) have to offer? The answer is; not as much as he would like.”
Wing Commander James Henderson echoed his comments about the P8s, saying: “Having an extra three would give us an increased ability to protect carriers from Russian attacks.
“They have invested more into their navy, they have got new submarines. It poses a threat to us … it is quite frightening.”
One of the Russian submarines singled out for concern is the nuclear-powered Severodvinsk, capable of launching ballistic missiles against both land and sea targets.
Air Chief Marshal Sir Mike Wigston told The Telegraph: “The Poseidon aircraft flying from RAF Lossiemouth play a critical role keeping the UK and our allies safe 24-7. As an island nation, our security and prosperity depends on our access to the world’s oceans.
“From the High North to the Mediterranean and beyond, our Poseidon crews are there, patrolling our seas, protecting our nuclear deterrent submarines, and working side-by-side with the Royal Navy, and our Nato and international allies.
“With Poseidon on task, Russian submarines have nowhere to hide.”
(Source: Daily Telegraph)
17 June 22. Stoltenberg Details NATO Progress in Deterrence, Defense.
Russia’s invasion of Ukraine dominated the NATO defense ministers’ meeting in Brussels, but the ministers — including Secretary of Defense Lloyd J. Austin III — also considered a range of actions and programs in preparation for the Madrid Summit on June 29.
Not since the fall of the Soviet Union in 1991 has there been as serious a threat as Russia’s unprovoked invasion of neighboring Ukraine, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg said yesterday at a press conference. This drastically changed the security environment in Europe and the globe, he said.
“We must set out NATO’s response for the longer term,” he said. “At the summit, we will take decisions to make NATO even stronger and more agile in a world that is more dangerous and more competitive. I am confident that the Madrid Summit will be a transformative summit.”
The secretary general said there are a number of areas where the heads of state and government will make decisions in Madrid. He expects the 30 NATO nations to significantly beef up deterrence and defense.
“We will also decide on a new NATO strategic concept, setting out our position on Russia, on emerging challenges, and — for the first time — on China,” he said. “And in this context, I welcome that the leaders of our Asia-Pacific partners will take part in our summit for the first time.”
The Indo-Pacific nations that will attend the summit are Australia, Japan, New Zealand and South Korea.
The leaders will also look at better burden-sharing and resourcing for the alliance.
Finally, they’ll discuss the historic applications for NATO membership by Finland and Sweden, he said.
The defense ministers looked at all these areas and made progress, the secretary general said.
The ministers met with Ukrainian Defense Minister Oleksii Reznikov and got an update on the situation in the embattled country. “We addressed the imperative need for our continued support, as Russia conducts a relentless war of attrition against Ukraine,” Stoltenberg said. “NATO allies and partners have been providing Ukraine unprecedented support, so that it can defend itself against Moscow’s aggression.”
Many NATO countries — including the United States — have announced additional assistance, including much needed heavy weapons and long-range systems.
But as Russian President Vladimir Putin’s war continues, the ministers discussed plans to support Ukraine for the long haul. “We are putting together a NATO comprehensive assistance package for Ukraine, helping Ukraine improve interoperability with NATO, transitioning from Soviet-era to modern NATO equipment, and further strengthening security institutions,” Stoltenberg said.
“Russia’s aggression is a game-changer,” he said. “So, NATO must maintain credible deterrence and strong defense.”
The defense ministers addressed the scale and design of our future posture — the so-called footprint of NATO forces in Europe. They also discussed how the alliance can work in all domains of warfare: land, sea, air, cyberspace and space.
On land, the idea is “more NATO forward-deployed combat formations to strengthen our battlegroups in the eastern part of our alliance,” Stoltenberg said. He said there will be more air, sea and cyber defenses, as well as pre-positioned equipment and weapon stockpiles.
The strategy calls for a new force model, “with more forces at higher readiness and specific forces pre-assigned to the defense of specific allies to enable much faster reinforcement,” he said. “A number of allies have committed to contribute to our stronger presence in the eastern part of our alliance. But we still have some work to do as we look to the summit, where I expect further announcements.” (Source: US DoD)
17 June 22. Industry deal moves Poland closer to acquiring South Korean artillery system. Polish Armaments Group has signed a memorandum of understanding with South Korean firm Hyundai Rotem to develop and manufacture the K2PL tank for Poland’s military, during the Eurosatory defense expo in Paris this week. Amid Russia’s ongoing invasion of Ukraine, Poland is accelerating efforts to acquire South Korean defense equipment, looking to take advantage of the Asian nation’s mass production capacity and lenient policy toward technology transfers. The NATO member shares a border with Ukraine as well as the Russian enclave of Kaliningrad. In addition to the K2PL, which is a Polish version of the Black Panther main battle tank in service with the South Korean Army, Poland is in talks with Hyundai Rotem to buy hundreds of K2 Black Panther tanks for its Army, according to government and industry sources with knowledge of the discussions.
Polish Defence Minister Mariusz Blaszczak discussed during a June 13 meeting with military leadership his weapons wish list, which includes Korean main battle tanks, self-propelled guns and infantry fighting vehicles. The minister had visited the Asian nation in late May to discuss the supply of South Korean combat vehicles and fighter jets.
“Why is Korean equipment proven? Because Korea has the challenge of its northern neighbour, who also conducts aggressive policy, so our task is to equip the Polish Armed Forces with modern equipment,” Blaszczak said in a news release posted online by his ministry.
Armed with a 120mm/55-caliber smoothbore gun and an autoloader, the 56-ton K2 Black Panther can fire up to 10 rounds per minute and features active protection systems. The tank is powered by a 1,500-horsepower diesel engine and a fully automatic transmission, and it can reach speeds of 70 kph (44 mph) and can maintain speeds up to 53 kph (33 mph) in off-road conditions.
Hyundai Rotem displayed a scale model of the K2PL at Eurosatory. Photos of the model show the Polish variant has a larger chassis than the Black Panther and features an additional seventh roadwheel.
The K9 self-propelled howitzer, developed by Hanwha Defense, is also a part of Warsaw’s arms wish list. Poland signed a contract earlier this month to export more than 50 155mm Krab howitzers to Ukraine, following the delivery of 18 secondhand Krabs to the war-torn country. Polish daily Dziennik Gazeta Prawna reported the deal covers about 60 howitzers and is valued at about 3bn zlotys (U.S. $700m).
In 2016, Poland ordered 120 Krabs, which are based on the K9 Thunder chassis. Polish Armaments Group subsidiary Huta Stalowa Wola manufactures the Krab by putting the British AS-90M Braveheart turret onto the K9 chassis.
A Polish Army delegation visited the K9 manufacturing plant as well as a South Korean Army unit operating the artillery systems earlier this month to discuss the purchase of the K9 to fill the gap left by the Krab export.
Multiple options are on the table, including providing the entire K9 system, just delivering the K9 chassis, or exporting a package of K9 howitzers and K10 automatic ammunition resupply vehicles.
“Hanwha Defense has a strong partnership with the Polish defense industry on the successful Krab project,” Jeff Sung, a spokesman for Hanwha Defense, told Defense News. He would not comment on the details of discussions between Seoul and Warsaw regarding the emergency supply of K9 howitzers.
The spokesman noted that nine countries — South Korea, Turkey, Poland, India, Finland, Norway, Estonia, Australia and Egypt — have ordered the K9 howitzer. (Source: Defense News)
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