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02 Sep 22. UK: Leadership Contest.
- Rishi Sunak and Liz Truss are the final contenders in the Conservative leadership contest. According to the latest polls, Truss is likely to secure the most votes, making her the most likely contender to become the next prime minister of the UK.
- Regardless of who wins the leadership contest, policy risks for businesses will remain high in the coming months (and potentially throughout 2023) due to heightened energy security risks across Europe. These risks are expected to increase during the winter. Due to inflationary pressures, domestic unrest risks will also remain elevated, as industrial action across various sectors will almost certainly continue in the coming months.
- British foreign policy will likely remain unchanged in general, with both Sunak and Truss having pledged to continue supporting Ukraine in its war against Russia. Nevertheless, under a government led by Truss, regional tensions will highly likely increase due to the UK’s potential withdrawal from the Northern Ireland Protocol (NIP). This would risk a trade war between the UK and the EU that would significantly increase policy risks for businesses operating in the region.
01 Sep 22. Romania to buy drones from Turkey’s Baykar as part of military endowment. Romania plans to buy three unmanned aerial vehicle (UAVs) systems from Turkish defence firm Baykar along with logistics support for an estimated $300 million before tax, the defence ministry said on Thursday.
The ministry said it has requested approval from the Romanian parliament to begin the tender process to acquire 18 Bayraktar TB2 drones destined for its ground forces as part of the country’s NATO targets and its military endowment plans.
“The acquisition for which approval has been requested will be initiated from 2022, depending … on funding possibilities,” the ministry said in a statement.
Romania, a NATO member since 2004, plans to raise defence spending to 2.5% of gross domestic product next year from 2% at present, President Klaus Iohannis said in March, in response to Russia’s invasion of Ukraine.
The country, which shares a 650-kilometre (400 mile) border with Ukraine, is host to a U.S. ballistic missile defense system and, as of this year, has a permanent alliance battlegroup stationed on its territory.
Earlier this year, Romania’s government approved a bill to buy 32 second-hand F-16 fighter jets from Norway. read more
French firm Naval Group and Romanian company Santierul Naval Constanta have yet to finalize a deal to sell Gowind navy corvettes to Romania as well as renovate two existing frigates for a total of 1.2 billion euros, with a decision potentially seen in September. read more
The country’s biggest procurement contract to date has been a multi-year 4bn euro U.S. Raytheon Patriot surface-to-air missile system, with the first shipment delivered in 2020.
The TB2 armed drones have been hugely popular in Ukraine, where they helped destroy Russian artillery systems and armoured vehicles. The TB2, which has also been used in the conflicts in Syria, Iraq, Libya and Nagorno-Karabakh, now spearheads Turkey’s global defence export push.
(Source: Defense News Early Bird/Reuters)
02 Sep 22. Royal Navy: aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth to leave Portsmouth to replace ‘significantly damaged’ sister ship HMS Prince of Wales on upcoming USA mission.
ROYAL Navy aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth is to depart Portsmouth for a mission to America next week – replacing stricken HMS Prince of Wales as she has suffered ‘significant damage’ due to a rare fault.
Royal Navy flagship HMS Queen Elizabeth is to stand in for its sister ship during diplomatic visits and military exercises off the US coast after the HMS Prince of Wales broke down off the Isle of Wight last week.
The £3 billion warship left from Portsmouth Naval Base on Saturday before an ‘emerging mechanical issue’ occurred – now identified as an ‘extremely unusual’ fault that has caused ‘significant damage’ to the starboard shaft and propeller, according to Rear Admiral Steve Moorhouse.
The Navy chief said: ‘Royal Navy divers have inspected the starboard shaft of the shift and the adjacent areas and they have confirmed there is significant damage to the shaft on the propeller and some superficial damage to the rudder but no damage to the rest of the ship.
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‘Our initial assessment has shown that coupling that joins the final two sections of the shaft has failed.
“Now this is an extremely unusual fault and we continue to pursue all repair options.
‘We’re working to stabilise the shaft section on the propeller after which the ship will return to Portsmouth.
‘The ship will then probably need to enter a dry dock as this will be the safest and quickest way to effect the repairs.’ (Source: News Now/https://www.portsmouth.co.uk/)
02 Sep 22. Truss government would need to boost military by 40,000+ and £157bn, analysis suggests.
Think tank RUSI says the pledge to boost defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030 would be the biggest increase since the 1950s.
It is predicted that a Liz Truss government would have to grow the UK Armed Forces by more than 40,000 personnel and spend £157bn more to meet its commitment to increase defence spending to 3% of GDP by 2030.
The Conservative leadership candidate’s pledge to boost defence spending from current levels of around 2% would be the most significant increase since the early 1950s, the Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) said.
Author of the report, Professor Malcolm Chalmers, explained: “To spend 3% effectively, the defence budget will require a significant increase in the size of the frontline – numbers of formations and platforms.
“An increase in service personnel numbers of 25–30% is likely to be needed to support an overall 60% increase of defence spending.
“This would increase total numbers of regular personnel from 148,000 today to around 190,000 in 2030, returning to the level last seen in 2010.”
The Deputy Director-General of the defence and security think tank RUSI, said the next Spending Review, likely to be in November, will be the first sign of whether the new government is serious about a target of 3%.
If not, Prof Chalmers said, the new Prime Minister would need to act swiftly to reverse what would otherwise be a reduction in defence spending over the next two years due to soaring inflation, and outlined a number of military projects which are not currently fully funded.
“Items such as the new generation of fighter aircraft… which will replace our Typhoon jets, that’s a big item,” he said.
“The replacement nuclear warhead, which is still at an early stage but will involve a lot of money by the end of the decade – that’s not fully funded.
“And the plans for a new generation of attack submarines which we could well be developing jointly with Australia, that again is not fully funded and many people, including Ben Wallace (Defence Secretary)… got a lot of indication that the Government would like to have more of those submarines because they’re so valuable.”
He added there is a lot of ambition to modernise the British Army “to be better prepared for what we’ve seen in Ukraine today”.
“That requires extra investment in people as well as in kit,” he said.
Watch: ‘We will have to spend more’ on defence, PM says.
“You don’t want to be under-armed if you’re facing a capable opponent like Russia.
“Clearly, the Ukraine war has created circumstances in which there’s a lot more focus – political focus, public focus – on defence.”
Prof Chalmers added that the report outlines the ambition to increase service personnel by 25-30% by 2030, however, to do so, “you are going to have to start recruiting those people” and think about their housing and training and paying personnel in the Armed Forces more to attract them into the military.
He also said any considerations of increased defence spending would have to be weighed up against wider fiscal priorities such as the NHS.
Prof Chalmers predicts any pace of spending growth would be “slower in the early years, before accelerating towards 2030”, due to “capacity constraints” before greater infrastructure can be built to handle a larger military.
“This could mean that defence spending rises from 2.2% of GDP in 2022/23 to 2.5% in 2026/27, before increasing to a full 3% over the following four years.”
The new PM, either Liz Truss or Rishi Sunak, is to be revealed on 5 September.
Second Battalion Irish Guards reactivated after 75 years
The battalion, which was disbanded in 1947, will see new soldiers hone their “discipline and skills” by performing ceremonial duties.
An Army battalion that played a key role in both world wars has been reactivated in a bid to “counter threats to worldwide peace”.
The Second Battalion Irish Guards, which was disbanded 75 years ago, will see new soldiers hone their “discipline and skills” by performing ceremonial duties.
Eventually, they will be sent into the First Battalion – currently training Ukraine’s armed forces to respond to the Russian invasion – and dispatched on global operations.
“The Army, of course, is adapting to the changing world,” Major Niall Hall, Regimental Adjutant of the Irish Guards, said.
“It needs to be fleet of foot and this is a great example of that happening.”
On Friday, the Second Battalion’s No 12 company – made up of soldiers as young as 18 – performed its first ceremonial duty with the Changing of the Guard at Buckingham Palace.
“Things like this don’t happen often in the military,” said Piper Jim Bell, one of the pipers to lead the group out of Westminster’s Wellington Barracks.
“I think it’s great that they’ve been raised because we get to carry their battle on us.
“And the men who fought and died within the Second Battalion will be remembered again,” he added.
The battalion was formed during the First World War and first saw action at the Battle of Loos in the autumn of 1915.
One of its early members was John Kipling, son of the poet Rudyard Kipling, who was killed at Loos when assaulting a German position.
The battalion was suspended after the Armistice, then reactivated a few months before the Second World War, before being disbanded again in 1947.
More than seven decades later, members of the battalion performed drills in front of Wellington Barracks as members of the public watched from Birdcage Walk.
The guardsmen, wearing bearskin with a signature blue plume, stood to attention as they were inspected by senior officers, who occasionally brushed down their scarlet tunics.
“We’ve been training all of this week to get it all squared, to get it all up to scratch for the lads,” Todd Yates, a 19-year-old guardsman, said.
Watch: Duke and Duchess of Cambridge present Shamrocks to Irish Guards on St Patrick’s Day.
The regiment’s mascot, a two-year-old Irish wolfhound known formally as Turlough Mor – nicknamed Seamus – drew particular interest from the crowd.
“Are you here because the dog is going to retire?” one puzzled onlooker asked reporters.
Seamus – “one of the personalities in the battalion”, according to his handler – led the company and Irish Guards band along Spur Road and through the gates of the Palace.
Skidding at times on the front courtyard’s red gravel, they took the place of the Coldstream Guards slightly after 11:00.
Arranging itself in a semi-circle inside the main gate, the band drew applause from onlookers thronging the nearby streets with a performance of Only The Good Die Young.
The Second Battalion was reactivated under the Future Soldier programme, which resulted from the Government’s review of the Armed Forces last year.
“Future Soldier and a series of subsequent plans detail how the Army will amend its force structure to deal with a changed operating environment caused by, among other issues, the Russian aggression in Ukraine,” the Army said in a statement.
“In this way, the Army will be more able to counter threats to worldwide peace and stability.” (Source: forces.net)
02 Sep 22. French Navy takes delivery of new mini-drones for reconnaissance. The French military has qualified a new miniature unmanned aerial system dubbed Aliaca, and received three initial systems for use aboard the Navy’s patrol vessels and surveillance frigates.
The fixed-wing UAS are built by Survey Copter, an Airbus subsidiary. The company signed a contract in 2020 worth €19.7m (U.S. $19.73m) with the French sea service for 11 systems – totaling 22 aircraft – in its maritime variant, dubbed SMDM for “Systèmes de Mini Drones aériens embarqués de la Marine.” The contract includes training and maintenance services.
The French military procurement office Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) certified the SMDM package on July 28, and the three first systems were subsequently delivered, the ministry announced Sept. 1. The certification followed multiple at-sea trials, run by the DGA, that allowed the navy and industry partners to test the system in multiple operational scenarios, the ministry said in a press release.
Each SMDM system comprises two Aliaca drones, weighing 16 kg (35 pounds) each, that are catapult-launched and can operate autonomously for three hours in a 50 kilometer (27 mile) range, per Survey Copter. Its electro optical/infrared (EO/IR) payload makes it suitable for missions at any time of day, as well as during severe weather conditions.
“These capabilities will allow the SMDM to investigate far-away zones, to identify structures at greater distances than radar ranges, and to characterize the threat in a real-time video feed,” the French Ministry of Defense said in the release. The drones will be capable of identifying unknown vessels, discreetly detecting vessels of interest, or help in the search for shipwrecked individuals.
The SMDM systems will be stationed aboard the French Navy’s high sea patrol vessels, overseas patrol vessels, and surveillance frigates, the Navy said.
Survey Copter has developed light tactical UAS since 1996, and became a subsidiary of Airbus in 2011. (Source: Defense News)
02 Sep 22. Royal Navy hunter-killer submarine completes NATO patrol in the Mediterranean. This is an Astute-class submarine as you have never seen it before – partially submerged in the azure waters of the Mediterranean as a specialist diver painstakingly cleans the hull for renewed operations.
HMS Audacious – Britain’s newest operation nuclear submarine – has completed her second Med patrol, conducting maritime security operations for the UK and her NATO allies.
The boat – normally based at Faslane on the Clyde, but operating out of NATO’s base in Souda Bay, Crete, for the past six months – has been working alongside NATO surface ships on Operation Sea Guardian, monitoring tankers and cargo vessels.
It is one of the alliance’s premier missions, building up a detailed picture of movements – regular and irregular – in the busiest sea lanes, sharing the intelligence gathered in real time with NATO authorities.
The unique abilities of the Astute-class submarine means the boat can remain submerged at periscope depth, take 360-degreee images in an instant – day or night – and then return to the depths to pore over the photographs captured at leisure.
Such visual capture of contacts of interest is just one of the methods of intelligence gathering HMS Audacious’ 98 crew can exploit from the boat’s impressive suite of sensors.
When not assigned to Sea Guardian, Audacious, which is the fourth boat in the Astute class, has been honing her anti-submarine warfare skills with the Italian Navy, in particular its frigate ITS Carlo Margottini.
After six months of near continuous operations, Audacious returned to Souda Bay to undergo maintenance – not just on the hi-tech sensors and systems inside the boat, but her hull as well.
As with all ships, barnacles grow on the side and underwater – especially the case when moving slowly or in warmer waters; the central Mediterranean in high summer is roughly twice as warm as Audacious’ home on the Clyde.
Specialist divers were flown out from the UK, running over the entire length of the submarine’s 97-metre-long hull with what is effectively a giant, heavy duty dental hygienist’s tooth polisher – the bristles on the brushes strong enough to sweep away barnacles, but not too firmly that the black tiles which cover Audacious and are key to her stealth are not damaged or dislodged.
30 Aug 22. EU to ramp up arms production, eyes Ukraine army training. European Union ministers on Tuesday debated ways to ramp up weapons production, boost military training for the Ukrainian armed forces and inflict heavier costs on Russia, with no end in sight to a war that has ground on since February.
“We are depleting our stocks. We are providing so many capacities to Ukraine that we have to refill our stocks,” EU foreign policy chief Josep Borrell told reporters in the Czech capital, Prague, where he is chairing two days of talks between the bloc’s defense and foreign ministers.
The aim among defense ministers is to work out how best to pool military materiel and resources, but also to bulk purchase ammunition and weapons like air defense systems which Ukraine continues to need.
They will also discuss what role the 27-nation bloc could play in training new Ukrainian recruits on European soil, as casualties mount and deplete the army of experienced soldiers while officers who might normally provide training are tied up in battle.
Several countries already provide military training on a bilateral basis but some feel that it’s important to throw the EU’s combined weight behind the effort. The Netherlands highlighted new demining training that it’s providing with Germany.
“It would be good to put that on a more structured basis, and to ensure that the EU collectively is doing that in a structured and organized way that can last for some time,” said Irish Foreign Minister Simon Coveney, who is also responsible for his country’s defense portfolio.
Others feel that might be too unwieldy.
“It’s not maybe the quickest way. I’m not so convinced,” said Luxembourg’s defense minister, Francois Bausch. Austria was also cool on the idea. Latvian Defense Minister Artis Pabriks said his country stands ready to help, but that such an EU-wide mission “must be practical.”
Later Tuesday, foreign ministers will discuss whether to impose further visa restrictions on Russians, in an effort to ramp up pressure on President Vladimir Putin as the war he launched six months ago inflicts heavy economic costs on European and world economies.
The EU already tightened visa restrictions on Russian officials and business people in May, but calls have mounted from, notably, Poland and the Baltic countries – Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania – for a ban on tourists.
“There must be more restrictions on travel for Russian citizens,” Pabriks said. “We cannot simply give bonuses to people which are supporting such presidents as Putin.”
But Borrell has said that a visa ban on all Russian citizens is unlikely to garner broad EU support.
Kremlin spokesman Dmitry Peskov said Tuesday that Moscow was closely following the EU visa discussions and described them as part of Western moves against Russia that are “irrational and bordering on madness.”
He warned that any restrictions would directly target Russian citizens and that Moscow would respond. (Source: https://apnews.com/)
30 Aug 22. HMS Prince of Wales, the £3bn pride of the Navy, grinds to halt over ‘failure to grease propeller shaft.’ The Royal Navy’s new £3bn aircraft carrier may have ground to a halt over a failure to grease the propeller shaft, naval sources have said.
HMS Prince of Wales’s “landmark mission” to the United States is hanging in the balance and may have to be cancelled.
Specialist Royal Navy divers have been inspecting the ship since it broke down on Sunday evening, less than 24 hours after setting sail for the US.
Naval sources have told The Telegraph initial thoughts are pointing to a lack of lubrication on the starboard side at the point the propeller shaft leaves the interior of the hull.
Any overheating at this point due to friction could have damaged the metal shaft, sources have said.
A better understanding of the problem, upon which navy chiefs can make decisions, is not expected before the end of the week.
However, it is thought likely that a period in dry dock will be required, to have a proper look at the area and carry out repairs.
The dry dock in Rosyth, Scotland, is thought to be the most likely base for any maintenance. The facility is owned by Babcock.
Suggestions the ship hit a submerged object have been discounted, added the source.
The 65,000-ton ship has been moved from the Sandown anchorage to nearby Stokes Bay, a more sheltered area that would allow divers to conduct detailed inspections.
It will take days to move the ship to Rosyth, should such a decision be taken – putting at risk training with the US Navy, the Royal Canadian Navy and the US Marine Corps, including flight trials with F-35 fighter aircraft.
A senior defence source told The Telegraph that while they would have to wait for the divers to confirm what the source of the issue was, they had “a good idea what the problem is”.
The source added: “We think there is significant damage to the starboard shaft. It’s not working.”
The source also said that this would prove a “major problem to fix” and said they would investigate how this had happened.
Meanwhile Admiral Lord West, the former First Sea Lord, said the timing of the issue was “extremely unfortunate”.
“You’d think when they were doing trials they might have spotted it,” he added.
“If it’s not an inherent design fault, it can be repaired quickly – and if it is, then someone needs their wrist slapped.”
However, he said the issue was an “embarrassment”, because of the importance of the ships.
“The Americans see our carriers as hugely important because they need the assistance, as their number of carriers has dwindled and they see threats everywhere,” he said. “If the war in Ukraine expands and it becomes a world war then the front line becomes the sea, because we are a maritime nation.”
The departure of HMS Prince of Wales from Portsmouth had already been delayed over the weekend due to a technical issue, although it is not known if the incidents are related. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
29 Aug 22. Olaf Scholz outlines new EU vision with call for European air defence scheme. German chancellor unveils proposals to boost continent’s resilience and reform governance in Brussels. German chancellor Olaf Scholz pictured in Prague on Monday. His speech in the Czech capital was focused on the idea of making Europe more ‘sovereign’ and better able to defend itself against external aggression. Olaf Scholz has called for a new European air defence system, one of a series of proposals put forward by the German chancellor for improving the continent’s resilience and reforming EU governance in the wake of Russia’s invasion of Ukraine. In a speech in Prague on Monday, Scholz said Germany intended to make “substantial” investments in air defence in the coming years, and its European neighbours would from the start be invited to participate in the project. “We have a lot of catching up to do in Europe when it comes to defending ourselves against airborne and space-based threats,” Scholz added. He also pledged that Germany would continue to send state of the art weapons to Ukraine, including air defence and radar systems and reconnaissance drones, and said Germany could take on “special responsibility” for building up Ukraine’s artillery.
Germany would also ensure that the planned EU rapid response force would be ready for deployment in 2025. Much of the speech, delivered at Charles University in Prague, was focused on the idea of making Europe more “sovereign”, better able to defend itself against external aggression and more effective at countering competition from countries such as China. The nations of the EU must, Scholz said, develop the bloc’s “promise of peace” by ensuring it was “able to safeguard its security, independence and stability in the face of external challenges”. Scholz was widely praised in Europe for responding to Russia’s war in Ukraine by launching an overhaul of German foreign and defence policy, promising to end the country’s dependence on Russian energy, support Ukraine with weapons shipments and invest much more in the German military. But since then, opposition politicians have accused Scholz of being too halfhearted in his backing for Kyiv and of lacking a strategic vision for Germany and Europe. The speech in Prague was his attempt to silence the critics. The chancellor reiterated his backing for EU enlargement, saying the six countries of the West Balkans should join the bloc, as well as Ukraine, Moldova and, eventually, Georgia too. They all “belong to us, to the free, democratic part of Europe”, he said. Scholz also said Croatia, Romania and Bulgaria should join the EU’s passport-free Schengen area. But EU expansion would require changes to the bloc’s rules, especially on decision-making, Scholz said, adding that he would like to see a shift to qualified majority voting in foreign and tax policy, “knowing well that this would have an impact on Germany, too”. He acknowledged, however, that smaller EU states were wary of the proposal, and suggested the reform should be limited initially to areas such as sanctions and human rights, “areas in which it is particularly important that we speak with one voice”. Scholz also called for changes to the composition of the European parliament and the European Commission, without going into detail. He called for closer co-ordination between EU states on military matters, with regular meetings of EU defence ministers in Brussels and much closer co-operation between European arms companies on joint defence projects. Scholz also threw his weight behind a proposal put forward in May by French president Emmanuel Macron for a broad “community” of European democracies that would include non-EU members. He said there was a need for a forum in which EU and non-EU leaders “can meet once or twice a year to discuss the central issues that affect our continent as a whole: security, energy, climate or connectivity”. (Source: FT.com)
27 Aug 22. RoK, Poland sign $5.8bn tank, howitzer contract. Two South Korean companies have signed a $5.76bn contract with Poland to export tanks and howitzers, Seoul’s arms procurement agency said on Saturday, after Warsaw agreed to ramp up arms imports amid tensions with Russia.
The contract, signed in Poland on Friday, is part of South Korea’s biggest ever arms deal, clinched last month with Poland, which has been seeking to beef up its military in the face of Russia’s invasion of neighbouring Ukraine.
Hyundai Rotem Co. (064350.KS) will ship K2 Black Panther tanks, and Hanwha Defense, the defence unit of Hanwha Corp (000880.KS), will send K9 self-propelled howitzers to Poland, said the Defense Acquisition Program Administration (DAPA).
The parties have not announced the value of the entire deal, which South Korean media estimated at up to 20 trillion won ($15 bn).
“As defence exports are extremely important in terms of sharing weapon systems, mutual logistics support and strengthening security alliances, this export deal is expected to contribute to our efforts to build solidarity with European countries and expand the boundaries of our security capabilities,” DAPA said in a statement.
South Korean President Yoon Suk-yeol, who took office in May, has vowed to beef up security cooperation with European countries sharing the values of democracy and market economies, while boosting the country’s defence industry amid North Korea’s evolving nuclear and military threats.
Yoon became the first South Korean leader to attend a NATO summit in Spain in June as an observer, warning of threats to those values.
Poland agreed to buy 180 K2 tanks, an unspecified number of howitzers and 48 FA-50 fighter jets under the deal. Friday’s contract covers a first instalment, DAPA said, without elaborating on the numbers. An agreement for the jets is expected next month.
The Ukraine invasion, which Russia calls a “special military operation,” has raised security fears among many former Eastern Bloc countries. NATO member Poland has vowed to boost military spending to 3% of gross domestic product and more than double the size of its army to deter any attacks. ($1 = 1,341.8100 won) (Source: Google/Reuters)
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