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12 Oct 22. Airbus ‘turns page’ on Brexit but presses UK on helicopters, space. The head of planemaker Airbus “turned the page” on the planemker’s past opposition to Brexit and pledged to keep wings production in Britain, but said the European aerospace giant hoped to be “better understood” on helicopters and space.
Chief Executive Guillaume Faury was speaking to a London audience of executives at the UK Aviation Club shortly before sources said he met British business minister Jacob Rees-Mogg and Prime Minister Liz Truss.
Airbus declined comment on Faury’s schedule.
A British government source said Truss had joined her business minister’s introductory meeting with Airbus. “It’s all part of this government’s mission to drive investment and opportunity for the country, boost growth and create new and better jobs,” the source said.
Britain is running a competition for the ground element of its Skynet 6 military satellite communications programme, with Airbus looking to fend off U.S. competition to maintain the strategic role it has performed for 20 years under Skynet 5.
Britain also plans to buy up to 44 medium helicopters to replace its fleet of Pumas and other military models, with Airbus’ European rival Leonardo (LDOF.MI) seen as front-runner.
In an increasingly competitive market, Airbus is seen as keen to defend its domestic space role and underscore its lead on civil emergency helicopters in talks with a new government.
Analysts say Leonardo dominates the UK military market where Airbus is touting a military version of its H175.
The Toulouse-based company has its main operations in France, Germany, Britain and Spain – the four countries that founded the planemaker more than 50 years ago.
Faury said Airbus had “turned the page” on its public opposition to Brexit during Britain’s 2016 referendum, which had been inspired by the European scale needed to build planes.
He stressed to the UK audience that Airbus continued to build all its wings in Wales and depended heavily on engine maker Rolls-Royce, adding “we don’t intend to change this”. (Source: Reuters)
13 Oct 22. NATO chief: circumstances for NATO to use nuclear weapons ‘extremely remote.’ The circumstances in which NATO might have to use nuclear weapons are “extremely remote”, the Western defence alliance’s secretary-general said on Wednesday, adding however that there would be “severe consequences” if Russia used such weapons.
“There would be severe consequences if Russia used nuclear weapons, any kind of nuclear weapon against Ukraine,” Jens Stoltenberg told a news conference after a meeting of NATO defence ministers.
“We will not go into exactly how we will respond, but this will fundamentally change the nature of the conflict. It means that a very important line has been crossed,” he said, referring to the war in Ukraine that followed Russia’s invasion of the country.
He said the fundamental purpose of NATO’s nuclear deterrent was to preserve peace and prevent coercion against its allies, and so the circumstances under which it might have to use nuclear weapons were “extremely remote”. (Source: Reuters)
13 Oct 22. U.S. says to defend “every inch” of NATO as nuclear planning group meets. The United States reaffirmed its commitment to defend “every inch” of NATO territory ahead of talks among defense ministers from the alliance on Thursday that will include closed-door discussions by its Nuclear Planning Group.
U.S. Defense Secretary Lloyd Austin made the remarks affirming America’s commitment to NATO’s collective defense following repeated nuclear threats by Russian President Vladimir Putin amid battlefield setbacks in his nearly eight-month-long invasion of Ukraine.
“We are committed to defending every inch of NATO’s territory – if and when it comes to that,” Austin said.
Austin spoke shortly before attending a meeting by NATO’s senior body on nuclear matters, which handles policy issues associated with the alliance’s nuclear forces.
NATO has not given details of the nuclear discussions taking place on Thursday. The alliance says its nuclear policy is under “constant review, and is modified and adapted in light of new developments.”
President Vladimir Putin has threatened the use of nuclear weapons since his military was beaten back on several fronts in Ukraine over the past month and Russia proclaimed the annexation of Ukrainian territories.
A senior NATO official said on Wednesday a Russian nuclear strike on Ukraine would “almost certainly be drawing a physical response from many allies, and potentially from NATO itself,” without elaborating.
U.S. National Security Adviser Jake Sullivan said last month the United States has made clear to Moscow the “catastrophic consequences” it would face if it used a nuclear weapon in Ukraine.
Sullivan did not publicly describe the nature of the planned U.S. response, however.
Diplomats say Moscow’s hints at the possible use of a tactical nuclear weapon to defend the annexed territories of Ukraine are aimed at scaring the West into reducing support for Kyiv.
On Thursday, Alexander Venediktov, the deputy secretary of Russia’s Security Council, was quoted by Russian media warning of World War Three if Ukraine were allowed to join NATO.
“Kyiv is well aware that such a step would mean a guaranteed escalation to World War Three,” Venediktov said.
“The suicidal nature of such a step is understood by NATO members themselves.”
Ukrainian President Volodymyr Zelenskiy announced a bid for fast-track membership of NATO, but full NATO membership for Ukraine is far off because all the alliance’s 30 members would have to give their consent.
NATO NUCLEAR EXERCISES
Meanwhile, NATO said it would go ahead with its annual nuclear preparedness exercise dubbed “Steadfast Noon” next week, in which NATO air forces practise the use of U.S. nuclear bombs based in Europe with training flights, without live weapons.
Cancelling the drills because of the war in Ukraine would send a “very wrong signal,” NATO chief Jens Stoltenberg said on Tuesday.
Germany said more than a dozen NATO partners aim to jointly procure air defence systems that protect European allied territory from missiles, eyeing Israel’s Arrow 3 system, U.S. Patriot and German IRIS-T units among the options.
Nearly 50 countries gathered at NATO headquarters on Wednesday and committed to arming Ukraine through the winter and beyond, including with new air defenses, potentially preventing Russia from taking advantage of a slower winter to reset its forces.
Austin said on Thursday that support was opened-ended.
“We’re going to stay with our efforts to support Ukraine for as long as it takes,” Austin said alongside NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Stoltenberg praised the U.N. General Assembly’s condemnation on Wednesday of Russia’s “attempted illegal annexation” of four partially occupied regions in Ukraine.
“This just shows that we need to stand up for the rules-based international order, for our core values,” Stoltenberg said.
Thursday’s agenda at NATO headquarters in Brussels includes discussions on how to give a clear signal to industry to ramp up arms production both for internal needs, as well as to support Ukraine’s defense.
Allies will also discuss ways to improve protection of their critical infrastructure, after apparent attacks on the Nord Stream pipelines contributed to heightening tensions. It remains unclear who was behind the explosions under the Baltic Sea. (Source: Reuters)
13 Oct 22. Germany, NATO allies aim to jointly procure air defence systems. Germany and more than a dozen NATO partners aim to jointly procure air defence systems that protect allied territory from missiles, eyeing Israel’s Arrow 3 system, U.S. Patriot and German IRIS-T units among the options, Berlin said on Thursday.
“With this initiative, we are living up to our joint responsibility for security in Europe – by bundling our resources,” German Defence Minister Christine Lambrecht said during a ceremony at NATO’s Brussels headquarters where 14 countries signed a letter of intent.
Estonia wasn’t present at the event but will also be part of the initiative, dubbed “European Sky Shield”. In total it comprises half of NATO’s members – including Germany, Britain, Slovakia, Norway, Latvia, Hungary, Bulgaria, Belgium, Czechia, Finland, Lithuania, the Netherlands, Romania and Slovenia.
Ground-based air defence systems such as Raytheon’s (RTX.N) Patriot units or the more recently developed IRIS-T are in short supply in many Western nations, which were reluctant to invest too much money in military capabilities after the end of the Cold War.
Russia’s war in Ukraine has cast a spotlight on the shortage, as Kyiv scrambles to acquire as many air defence units as it can to protect cities and critical infrastructures from Russian air attacks.
Lambrecht said countries were seeking to quickly move on the first deals.
“We will work speedily on the first joint projects, the joint purchase of Patriot units is one of them as well as of the modern system IRIS-T,” she told reporters. IRIS-T is built by German defence company Diehl. (Source: Reuters)
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