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19 Jun 20. Airbus extends furloughs in UK, Spain in latest effort to tackle COVID-19 fallout. European planemaker Airbus SE (AIR.PA) said on Friday it is extending furlough programs for 5,300 of its employees in Spain and the United Kingdom in its latest effort to cope with the impact of the coronavirus outbreak.
“This will be effective from 20th May till 30th September and affects all Airbus Operations SL employees in Spain (with some exceptions), which means around 3,100 employees”, an Airbus spokesman told Reuters in an emailed statement
“Airbus Helicopters and Airbus DS employees in Spain are not impacted”, the spokesman said.
In the United Kingdom, the period of furlough for about 2,200 Airbus workers will start on July 20 and end on Aug. 9, the statement said.
“In France, all employees of the commercial aircraft division are in some way affected”, the spokesman said. He added about 29,500 employees in France were working on average about 30% shorter weeks.
Sources told Reuters in May that Europe’s largest aerospace group was exploring restructuring plans involving the possibility of “deep” job cuts as it braced for a prolonged coronavirus crisis after furloughing thousands of workers.
The company had told senior staff it must be “resized” in plans to be set out around end-June. The coronavirus pandemic has led to a global airline crisis, with carriers and suppliers pleading for help.
Earlier this month, France unveiled what it described as a 15bn-euro ($16.76bn) support package for its aerospace industry, saying huge numbers of jobs were at stake amid a slump in air travel demand due to the coronavirus.
The total included 7bn euros of aid already announced for Air France (AIRF.PA) and an acceleration of existing orders for Airbus tankers and other military kit, the French government said. (Source: Reuters)
19 Jun 20. The French Army wants to toughen up, and here’s its plan to get there. France’s Army needs to toughen up, according to its chief of staff, and he has the strategic plan to do it by 2030.
Gen. Thierry Burkhard, a paratrooper in the Foreign Legion and former commander of its 13th Demi-Brigade and later of the Combined Operations Center, unveiled the 20-page document on Wednesday. The document was prepared by a tight-knit group of senior officers, who worked on it from August to October last year. It was then discussed by senior Army cadres, and by January it was ready. However, the coronavirus pandemic delayed its publication.
Burkhard said implementing the plan is critical because a “recurrence of a major conflict is now a credible hypothesis.”
He added that the cycle of asymmetrical warfare is coming to a close and that a return to symmetrical, state-on-state conflict is likely. But the document also warns that “there are new means of using force, unforeseeable and more insidious, based on intimidation and manipulation, in a new type of warfare, undetectable and disclaimed, to obtain undeniable strategic gains by imposing a fait accompli.”
One of France’s concerns is that China’s expansion in the Pacific will endanger the European country’s territories there, such as New Caledonia and French Polynesia. French armed forces in the area must be able to riposte vigorously if necessary, Burkhard said.
To “acquire operational superiority,” the French Army must improve its capabilities in the electromagnetic environment, space, cyberspace and information technology, the report said. It also stressed the importance of “strategic industrial partnerships within Europe,” specifically mentioning the CaMo (Capacité Motorisé, or motorized capacity) program, which will see Belgium receive 382 multirole Griffon armored vehicles as well as 60 reconnaissance and combat Jaguar armored vehicles identical and thus compatible with the French ones.
The report also highlighted the importance of the Franco-German Main Ground Combat System — a joint effort to develop a main battle tank that will replace Germany’s Leopard 2 and France’s Leclerc by 2035.
There are 12 major projects meant to make the 114,000 French soldiers (of whom 77,000 are ground troops) better prepared for the future of war as described in the report. These include setting up a new technical school to give noncommissioned officers the stronger technical education they’ll need to use the materiel being delivered under the $12bn Scorpion modernization program.
Burkhard also wants to reorganize the management of military vehicles, handing responsibility back to the regiments so they can independently prepare for operations. He also wants training to be more realistic and to involve new technology.
Other projects involve improving joint and allied interoperability as well as making better use of the reserve force, which currently stands at 24,000 men and women. According to Burkhard, these reservists should be given more autonomy and be better spread out over the territory, and their contracts should be better adapted to their very different life styles based on full-time profession, academic status and geographic location. He also said the Army should have a role in educating French youth on the importance of defense and in developing the universal national service, which will become obligatory from 2024 for French individuals born in 2008.
Burkhard also wants to plan a division-level exercise to prepare for air, ground and sea maneuvers.
And lastly, he wants to get the job done without having to cut through a mound of red tape. Things in the Army should be simpler, the report read, “so that at local level things are clear and pragmatic.” (Source: Defense News)
18 Jun 20. New Ships, New Radar for Eurofighter, New IT Information Technology. The Bundeswehr will invest heavily a total of around 13bn euros. The Navy will get four MKS 180 multi-purpose combat ships. The Eurofighter will be equipped with new radars. In the Hercules follow-up project, BWI, as an in-house service provider, is to guarantee IT information technology operations for the BMVg Federal Ministry of Defense division for another four years.
The Bundeswehr is procuring four MKS 180 (Mehrzweckkampfschiffe, or multi-purpose combat ships), including land-based facilities for training, for around 5.6bn euros. The Bundeswehr has an option in the contract to purchase two more ships. The special feature of the MKS 180 is that it is equipped for air defense as well as for surface and underwater warfare. A special focus is on the ability to combat submarines.
New radar technology
The Bundeswehr is authorized to conclude four contracts with a total volume of around 2.8bn euros for new radar technology for the Eurofighter. The money is planned on the one hand for the procurement of the most modern AESA electronically-scanned radars. On the other hand, multi-channel receivers to exploit the performance potential of this future-oriented technology are to be developed and integrated into the Eurofighter.
The procurement of the already developed radar hardware should run parallel to the development of the final software. In the middle of the 2020s, the new radar system should then be available with full capabilities.
The technologically up-to-date radar system will then have improved detection and identification options with higher immunity to interference. This means that pilots in the Eurofighter will be better able to detect and engage air-to-air and air-to-ground targets. Several targets will be can be tracked and engaged simultaneously and independently of one another. The new radar system is an important contribution to the capabilities and survivability of the Eurofighter.
Ensuring IT information technology operations by the BWI
The performance contract with the BWI is to be extended by four years. This is the continuation of the operation of the administrative information and communication technology of the Bundeswehr. The contract will have a financial volume of around EUR 4.6bn. The extension of the contract also goes hand in hand with longer-term planning security for the BWI, which is to be developed into an IT systems house for the Bundeswehr and its personnel. This gives BWI staff employment perspectives that also play an important role in recruiting. This supports the company’s goal of largely providing its own services, insofar as this makes economic sense, with its own staff and reducing the proportion of external services. For the Bundeswehr, this also means that the digitization path that has been chosen can be continued. Finally, the Bundeswehr can largely concentrate on its core military tasks with its own IT information technology personnel.
25m euro contracts
The projects approved by the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag on June 17 with a total volume of around EUR 13bn were presented as EUR 25m templates. This includes all procurement and development projects of the Bundeswehr requiring an investment volume of 25m euros and more. These require the separate approval of the Budget Committee of the German Bundestag before the contract is concluded. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/German Ministry of Defence)
19 Jun 20. SCAF: Two Further Steps Taken by the French, German and Spanish Air Forces. General Philippe Lavigne, General Ingo Gerhartz and General Javier Salto, respectively Chiefs of Staff of the French, German and Spanish Air Forces, have signed two documents relating to their cooperative program “Système de combat aérien du futur,” or Future Combat Air System (FCAS), and the predecessor national combat aviation programs that lead to it.
As Air Force Chiefs, they bring their operational expertise to the trinational project team and to the SCAF/FCAS steering committee.
Signed at the end of a videoconference held on May 7, these documents implement:
— A tripartite vision – known as “Common Understanding on Connectivity Needs” – to ensure the interoperability of resources within the three Air Forces and with their multinational partners. The connectivity road map towards the new-generation combat system, SCAF/FCAS, is thus laid out.
— A common definition of operational criteria that will contribute to the evaluation of architectures that can meet the operational needs of SCAF/FCAS that will be proposed by industry.
The next steps of the SCAF/FCAS program are focused on the convergence of architectures composed of new-generation combat aircraft and multi-role drones, demonstrators of which should be able to fly in 2026.
This is the incomplete English translation provided by the French Air Force:
The three Air Chiefs of France, Germany and Spain are working closely together on the common NGWS (Next Generation Weapon System) and national FCAS programs.
As Chiefs of the Air Forces, they provide their operational experience and competence at working level as well as at NGWS steering level. Therefore, after a dedicated remote meeting on May 7, they signed two key documents, for the unfolding of the FCAS program:
— A common Air Forces’ vision – named Common Understanding on Connectivity – to guide and foster interoperability within their own assets, but also among multinational partners and also to pave the path to NGWS/FCAS with respect to connectivity;
— A common definition of operational criteria to assist the NGWS Combined Project Team in the process of assessing the potential architectures proposed by industry with their operational expertise.
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/French Air Force)
18 Jun 20. US to consult with NATO allies on future plans for American troops in Europe, says alliance leader. The United States remains committed to its European allies and has pledged to consult them on any future U.S. troop moves in Europe, NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg said Wednesday, after President Donald Trump’s surprise announcement that he plans to pull thousands of personnel out of Germany.
Trump said Monday that he is ordering a major reduction in troop strength in Germany, from around 34,500 personnel down to 25,000. Members of his own party have criticized the move as a gift to Russia and a threat to U.S. national security. Germany is a hub for U.S. operations in the Middle East and Africa.
Speaking after chairing a video meeting of NATO defense ministers, Stoltenberg said that Defense Secretary Mark Esper “stated very strongly that of course the U.S. stays committed to European security, and the United States will consult with other allies as we move forward.”
“No final decision has been made on how and when to implement the U.S. intention,” Stoltenberg said.
Germany wasn’t notified of the move, which came after Trump branded its NATO ally “delinquent” for failing to pay enough for its own defense, by falling short of a goal set in 2014 for members to halt budget cuts and move toward spending at least 2% of gross national product on defense by 2024.
A number of NATO diplomats and officials have suggested the pullout — which would be costly and might not even be logistically possible before the U.S. elections in November — probably won’t happen.
Stoltenberg said that the United States and Poland, in consultation with NATO, had decided to boost the U.S. troop presence there, but he provided no details.
Asked whether European allies and Canada are concerned that Trump might announce a complete troop withdrawal from Afghanistan as the election approaches, NATO’s top civilian official said only that Esper had given the ministers a detailed briefing on U.S. plans.
Stoltenberg said more talks will take place among NATO allies and their partners in the conflict-ravaged country, but that any drawdown would be based on whether the Taliban are complying with their commitments to the peace agreement.
Separately, the ministers endorsed a series of measures they’ve been preparing for more than a year to respond to Russia’s development of nuclear capable medium-range missiles and hypersonic weapons, and what NATO says is Moscow’s intimidation of European allies.
Stoltenberg said a number of allies are buying new air and missile defense systems and some are investing in advanced fighter aircraft. The 30-nation military alliance is also boosting its intelligence gathering and sharing, and plans more war games.
Stoltenberg said the ministers also “decided on additional steps to keep the NATO nuclear deterrent safe, secure and effective,” without elaborating. But he insisted that NATO countries don’t plan to “mirror Russia” by deploying new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe. (Source: Defense News)
18 Jun 20. NATO Defense Ministers Look to Counter Russia, 2nd COVID-19 Wave. The NATO alliance is preparing to face traditional and nontraditional threats, looking to continue to deter Russia and to face a possible second wave of COVID-19.
NATO defense ministers discussed the response to threats facing the alliance during a three-day virtual meeting chaired by Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg in Brussels. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper attended.
“State and nonstate actors continue their attempts to destabilize, disrupt and divide allies,” the secretary general said during a news conference. “So NATO’s job is to remain ready to defend all allies against any threat.”
Russia continues its military actions in Ukraine, it continues to occupy Crimea, it sends troops to prop up the Assad regime in Syria, and now it is sending aircraft and personnel to Libya. Russia remains the greatest threat to the alliance, and the ministers discussed Russian efforts to subvert the alliance and build their military force. They specifically addressed Russia’s extensive and growing arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles and their implications for NATO’s security, Stoltenberg said.
In 2019, Russia deployed SSC-8 missiles, which led to the demise of the Intermediate-range Nuclear Forces Treaty. “The SSC-8 missiles are dual-capable, mobile and hard to detect,” Stoltenberg said. “They can reach European cities with little warning time, and they lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons.”
Russian President Vladimir Putin has said he is modernizing intercontinental ballistic missiles, and that Russia has fielded a hypersonic glide vehicle.
“Russia has tested its air-launched ballistic missile system, and is developing a nuclear-powered cruise missile,” the secretary general said. “We have also seen a pattern over many years of irresponsible Russian nuclear rhetoric, aimed at intimidating and threatening NATO allies. Russia’s behavior is destabilizing and dangerous.”
The defense ministers agreed to a balanced package of political and military elements, including strengthening the alliance integrated air and missile defense system. “We also agreed to strengthen our advanced conventional capabilities, and allies are investing in new platforms, including fifth generation fighter aircraft,” Stoltenberg said.
The alliance is adapting intelligence sharing arrangements and bulking up exercises, he added. The secretary general said the NATO nuclear deterrent in Europe remains vital for peace and freedom. “Today we decided on additional steps to keep the NATO nuclear deterrent safe, secure and effective,” he said. “We will maintain our deterrence and defense, but we will not mirror Russia. We have no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.”
The ministers want negotiations on nuclear arms with all. Stoltenberg called on China, as a major military and nuclear power, to participate.
The alliance’s ministers also discussed the NATO missions in Iraq and Afghanistan and reiterated their strong commitment to Afghanistan’s long-term security. “This commitment is vital to ensuring the peace process continues to move forward,” Stoltenberg said. “To support the peace process, we are adjusting our presence in Afghanistan, and we will consider further adjustments in troop levels in close coordination with allies.”
Changes in Afghanistan are conditions-based, and Stoltenberg called on the Taliban “to live up to their commitments, take part in intra-Afghan negotiations and make real compromises for lasting peace.”
Iraqi security forces have made enormous strides, the secretary general said, but ISIS has tried to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. “Today, allies reiterated their commitment to stepping up our efforts in Iraq, in full consultation with the Iraqi government and the global coalition,” he added.
Both Afghanistan and Iraq have requested NATO assistance in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic, and both nations have received aid from NATO allies, including critical medical supplies. NATO defense ministers also approved a plan for the ongoing fight against COVID-19.
NATO leaders will continue to ensure “credible and effective deterrence and defense,” Stoltenberg said. “We have taken all the necessary measures to ensure our forces remain ready, vigilant and prepared to respond to any threat, because it is essential that this health crisis does not become a security crisis,” he added.
The defense ministers will continue the alliance’s role of supporting the civilian response to COVID-19. NATO assets have airlifted essential supplies, transported patients and constructed field hospitals.
“Medical authorities around the world have warned that we could see a second wave in the pandemic, so NATO is preparing to provide strong support to civilian efforts if that happens,” the secretary general said.
The ministers agreed to a new operation plan to provide support to allies and partners. “We also agreed to establish a stockpile of medical equipment and supplies, and we agreed on a new fund, to enable us to quickly acquire medical supplies and services,” Stoltenberg said.
“Just as allies have supported one another, and our partners in the first wave of COVID-19, we stand ready to support each other should a second wave of the pandemic strike to reduce suffering, and to save lives,” he added. (Source: US DoD)
16 Jun 20. Defence Ministers focus on sustaining EU capability development. The European Defence Agency’s (EDA) Steering Board in the composition of Defence Ministers discussed today how to sustain EU capability development in times of disruptive challenges. Defence Ministers pointed to the need for more collaborative projects, efficiency gains and economies of scale as the most effective way of navigating the current crisis while ensuring that Europe’s armed forced are ready for the future.
In addressing an ever more dynamic security environment, including the impact of COVID-19, Ministers underscored the need for even more multinational cooperation in capability planning and development to overcome an unprecedented and diverse set of challenges. Ministers agreed that the EU defence initiatives advanced since 2016 need to be implemented with more decisiveness than ever before. They stressed the importance of delivering on the binding commitments under PESCO, implementing the EU Capability Development priorities, based on a fully-fledged defence review (CARD), and making full use of the European Defence Fund (EDF) as a powerful incentive at the EU level. Ministers also discussed how to better ensure that Europe has highly resilient and responsive armed forces, which are able to prevent, detect and respond to multiple threats and scenarios.
The meeting, held via videoconference, was chaired for the first time by Head of the Agency, Josep Borrell. It was also the first opportunity for recently appointed EDA Chief Executive, Jiří Šedivý, to address the EDA Steering Board comprising the Ministers of Defence of the Agency’s 26 Member States.
Head of the European Defence Agency, High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy and Vice-President of the European Commission, Josep Borrell said: “Whether we are prepared or not to respond to today’s security threats depends on our ability to pull together our resources and act. Today, more than ever, it is crucial to spend better together, rationalise, strengthen our capabilities and deploy effectively to address crises and promote stability. The EU defence initiatives are in place, but to realise their full potential they must be fully integrated into Member States national defence policies and planning processes.”
EDA Chief Executive,Jiří Šedivý, said: “The key priority for European defence will be staying the course and maintaining the EU’s level of ambition on defence, especially now, facing up to unprecedented challenges, including COVID-19. Europe has spent the last few years developing a comprehensive toolbox with the new EU defence initiatives. These tools are now to be put to work to enable deeper cooperation. EDA, as the hub for EU defence cooperation, is there to serve as the preferred platform for Member States defence cooperation”.
Full use of EDA’s potential
Ministers also looked into how the Agency can speed up the process of project generation and implementation at European level, and how it can best support more Member States in cooperative projects and programmes so that these become operational in a timely manner. EDA will examine how to further improve its service to Member States especially in terms of enabling processes and procedures, capability development, training, joint procurement, as well as R&T and innovation.
Next steps: CARD Report
The next EDA ministerial Steering Board will take place in November, when the first CARD (Coordinated Annual Review on Defence) Report will be presented. CARD provides an overview that will allow Member States to better coordinate their defence planning and spending and engage in collaborative projects, improving consistency in Member States defence spending and overall coherence of the European capability landscape. The report will act as a pathfinder to inform future investment decisions on the most promising, most needed and most pressing opportunities for multinational cooperation. (Source: EDA)
17 Jun 20. NATO Defence Ministers Agree Response to Russian Missile Challenge, Address Missions in Afghanistan and Iraq.
NATO Defence Ministers met by secure video conference on Wednesday (17 June 2020), making decisions to strengthen the Alliance’s deterrence and defence.
In response to Russia’s growing arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles, Allies agreed a balanced package of political and military measures, including strengthened air and missile defence, advanced conventional capabilities, intelligence, exercises, and steps to keep NATO’s nuclear deterrent safe, secure and effective.
Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg also stressed the Alliance’s commitment to arms control, saying: “We will maintain our deterrence and defence but we will not mirror Russia. We have no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.”
Ministers also addressed NATO’s missions in Afghanistan and Iraq, which play a key role in the fight against international terrorism.
Transcript of June 17 press conference by NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg following the meetings of NATO Defence Ministers (transcript)
We have just concluded a meeting focused on NATO’s deterrence and defence as well as our missions and operations. COVID-19 does not mean that other challenges have gone away.
State and non-state actors continue their attempts to destabilise, disrupt and divide Allies. So, NATO’s job is to remain ready to defend all Allies against any threat.
Today, we addressed Russia’s extensive and growing arsenal of nuclear-capable missiles and their implications for NATO’s security.
Last year, Russia’s deployment of SSC-8 missiles led to the demise of the INF Treaty. The SSC-8 missiles are dual-capable, mobile, and hard to detect. They can reach European cities with little warning time. And they lower the threshold for the use of nuclear weapons. Russia is also modernising its intercontinental ballistic missiles. Its hypersonic glide vehicle has entered operations. Russia has tested its air-launched ballistic missile system. And is developing a nuclear-powered cruise missile. We have also seen a pattern over many years of irresponsible Russian nuclear rhetoric, aimed at intimidating and threatening NATO Allies.
Russia’s behaviour is destabilizing and dangerous.
At our meeting today Ministers discussed these challenges and agreed a balanced package of political and military elements. This includes strengthening our integrated air and missile defence.
A number of Allies have announced they are acquiring new air and missile defence systems, including Patriot and SAMP/T batteries.
We also agreed to strengthen our advanced conventional capabilities. Allies are investing in these new platforms, including fifth generation fighter aircraft.
And we are also adapting our intelligence, and our exercises.
Ministers also met in in the Nuclear Planning Group format.
NATO’s nuclear sharing arrangements have served us well for decades, allowing us to forge common ground on nuclear issues. The NATO nuclear deterrent in Europe remains vital for peace and freedom in Europe. And today we decided on additional steps to keep the NATO nuclear deterrent safe, secure and effective.
We will maintain our deterrence and defence but we will not mirror Russia.
We have no intention to deploy new land-based nuclear missiles in Europe.
NATO has a strong track record on arms control, disarmament and non-proliferation. NATO has reduced its nuclear arsenal in Europe by 90 percent since the end of the Cold War.
But others now need to engage.
As a major military power, China also has major responsibilities. So as a rising global power, it is high time for China to participate in global arms control.
We also discussed NATO’s missions and operations, including in Afghanistan and Iraq. Allies reiterated their strong commitment to Afghanistan’s long-term security. This commitment is vital to ensuring the peace process continues to move forward.
To support the peace process, we are adjusting our presence in Afghanistan, and we will consider further adjustments in troop levels in close coordination with Allies.
The Taliban have to live up to their commitments, take part in intra-Afghan negotiations and make real compromises for lasting peace.
In Iraq, security forces have made enormous strides. ISIS has also tried to exploit the COVID-19 pandemic. So, when I spoke to new Prime Minister al-Kadhimi last month, I stressed that NATO remains committed to working with Iraq in the fight against international terrorism.
To ensure that ISIS does not return, today Allies reiterated their commitment to stepping up our efforts in Iraq, in full consultation with the Iraqi government and the Global Coalition.
Both Afghanistan and Iraq have requested NATO assistance in dealing with the COVID-19 pandemic. And both have received aid from NATO Allies, including critical medical supplies.
So, our partners can count on us – not only in countering terrorism, but also in countering the pandemic. I also discussed with the Ministers my reflection on NATO 2030. This is about keeping our Alliance strong militarily, making it stronger politically, and more global.
Tomorrow, we will take further important decisions. To ensure NATO is prepared for a possible second wave of COVID-19, with a new operational plan, a stockpile of medical equipment and funding for the quick acquisition of medical supplies. So, with that, I’m ready to take your questions. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/NATO)
16 Jun 20. German Equipment: Positive Trend Continues. On June 9, the 11th report of the Federal Ministry of Defense on armaments matters (Armaments Report) was published, at the same time as the report on the material operational readiness of the Bundeswehr’s main weapon systems.
The reports provide Parliament and the public with a comprehensive overview of developments in the defense sector and the equipment of the force.
Last year, a total of 31 parliamentary bills with a volume of over 25m euros were approved and around 14bn euros invested.
Just under four billion was spent on equipment maintenance. Around 6bn euros went into military procurement. Almost 2.7bn euros were also invested in operator solutions such as Heeresinstandsaltungslogistik GmbH or BWI GmbH.
Defense expenditure is expected to continue to grow until 2024, so that the Bundeswehr’s equipment can continue to improve and new capabilities can be made available to soldiers. There is agreement within the federal government to finance major large-scale projects. These are intended to close gaps in capabilities and fulfill commitments made to allies. For the General Inspector of the Bundeswehr, General Eberhard Zorn, the focus is on a triad of “greater robustness, redundancy and persistence”.
Major equipment arrives
“Baden-Württemberg,” the lead ship of the new Type 125 frigate class, was put into service last June. The Bundeswehr was also able to take delivery of five Eurofighters, seven A400M transport planes, 25 Boxer armored transport vehicles, 64 Puma armored personnel carriers and 780 unprotected transport vehicles with a military payload of 5 to 15 tons.
At the same time, the production of the corvettes of the second batch of the K130 class began, and the acquisition procedure for the heavy transport helicopter was initiated.
“After more than 20 years of saving, we now receive new material every day – including large weapon systems. We can only achieve this turnaround in the long term if the defense budget continues to rise,” the Inspector General made clear. Above all, the procurement of spare parts packages is beginning to have an impact. “This is something we have learned from the past,” said Secretary of State for Armaments Benedict Zimmer. “We procure armament projects at the same time as related spare parts and special tools. That has a lasting impact on operational readiness.”
At the same time, more attention is paid to the performance of the industry. Quality defects are no longer accepted. “If the equipment is not operational, it will not be accepted,” said Zimmer. The non-acceptance of the NH-90 Sea Lion helicopter by the Navy, and the request to industry to immediately begin repairs, this procedure was already implemented.
The past year was marked by international cooperation. Large arms projects were initiated with France in particular. In addition to the development of a land combat system, the Main Ground Combat System under German leadership, the first milestones towards joint development of a Future Air Combat System (Next Generation Weapon System in the Future Combat Air System) were achieved. As part of this French-led project, a joint concept study has been underway since last year. Spain has also been on board here since the beginning of this year.
In addition to these future projects, Germany is living the European idea in the form of cooperation with other countries. German-Norwegian and German-Dutch cooperation should be mentioned here in many projects.
Safe to act, even in times of crisis
Especially in the course of the COVID-19 pandemic, the Bundeswehr has shown that it can quickly procure urgently needed equipment and materials as part of administrative assistance in times of crisis. From March to the end of April 2020, a total of 74 contracts with a total volume of 363m euros were concluded by the Bundeswehr. Together with the General Customs Directorate and the Procurement Office of the Federal Ministry of the Interior, the procurement organization has demonstrated how flexible and targeted action can be taken in times of crisis. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/ German Ministry of Defense)
12 Jun 20. UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has praised the MOD’s partnership with Britain’s defence industry, which is rising to meet the challenges of maintaining critical output during the coronavirus pandemic. The MOD’s partners from across the defence industry have worked hard to ensure their work – which is vital to national security – can continue safely so the Armed Forces remain operationally effective at all times.
Last week, the Defence Secretary spoke to the CEO of BAE Systems, Charles Woodburn, to hear how they have reorganised their approach to work in order to maintain the health of their employees and make sure that programme delivery is maintained.
This includes supporting the Royal Navy’s fleet at Portsmouth Naval Base, the nuclear deterrent and the RAF’s Quick Reaction Alert squadrons, as well as ensuring the arrival of the fourth Royal Navy’s Astute-class submarines, HMS Audacious, at HMNB Clyde and the departure of the fourth Offshore Patrol Vessel, HMS Tamar, from the BAE Systems shipyard in Glasgow.
To ensure these critical programmes have continued, BAE Systems has followed the UK Government health and safety guidelines on employees working from home where they can, as well as redesigning tasks, implementing social distancing, enhanced cleaning and ensuring appropriate PPE for those on site.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “The UK is fortunate that our defence industry and its key workers are stepping up to support the Government at this critical time. Not only have they been donating their expertise and equipment, but maintaining their critical outputs during the ongoing pandemic.
“Just last week I heard how BAE Systems in Barrow-in-Furness have rapidly and innovatively adopted new practices to ensure their vital work can continue – in line with Government guidelines – keeping both their employees and our nation safe, today and in the future.”
At the beginning of the outbreak in March, defence companies worked alongside MOD staff as part of the Ventilator Challenge to share their engineering expertise to design and produce thousands of ventilators for the NHS.
Since then, hundreds of thousands of Personal Protective Equipment (PPE) items, including face shields, aprons and surgical gloves, have been donated by defence companies to health and social care staff. Specific products for local hospitals, such as specialist hooks for isolation cubicles and isolation cockpit shields for air ambulance pilots, have also been manufactured.
At the same time, Defence Equipment and Support (DE&S) procurement specialists worked at speed with the Cabinet Office to help the Department for Health and Social Care secure orders from new suppliers who responded to the Government’s call for PPE. DE&S also assisted this effort through the Defence Fulfilment Centre (MOD Donnington) which received and dispatched thousands of PPE items and medical equipment by utilising RAF shipment flights and Army lorry networks. (Source: Defence Online)
16 Jun 20. Germany looks at buying new maritime patrol aircraft – document. Germany’s Defence Ministry has stopped refurbishing the military’s maritime patrol aircraft in favour of conducting a market study of possible replacements, a confidential ministry document reviewed by Reuters showed.
Prepared for the parliamentary defence committee, the document showed the ministry had decided to stop the upgrading of existing Bundeswehr (armed forces) patrol aircraft after an economic feasibility study.
But the Bundeswehr needed the ability to hunt submarines and conduct long-distance maritime reconnaissance, prompting the market review of alternative aircraft including the C-295 MPA from Airbus, the RAS 72 from Rheinland Air Service and the P-8A Poseidon from Boeing, the document indicated. (Source: Reuters)
15 Jun 20. US Air Force deploys Reaper drones to Estonia for first time on short-term mission. U.S. unmanned aircraft are operating for the first time out of Estonia, where they will be temporarily based in support of allied intelligence gathering missions, U.S. Air Forces in Europe said Monday.
MQ-9 Reaper aircraft were moved from Miroslawiec Air Base in northwestern Poland while a runway there is under construction, USAFE said in a statement.
The move, while temporary, could give NATO a surveillance boost around the upper Baltics, where Russia’s military is active.
USAFE did not say how many aircraft and airmen were repositioned to Estonia’s Amari Air Base, citing operational security. The troops belong to the Air Force’s 52nd Expeditionary Operations Group Detachment 2.
“The operations aim to promote stability and security within the region and strengthen relationships with NATO allies and other European partners,” USAFE said of the mission.
Since 2018, MQ-9 Reapers have been operating out of Poland. In the past, the unit also has carried out temporary missions in Romania while runway work was done at the Polish base.
The Miroslawiec Air Base could eventually factor into plans for a larger U.S. presence in Poland. A 2019 deal between Warsaw and Washington called for the establishment of a drone squadron in the country. Negotiations connected to basing more U.S. troops in Poland are ongoing, with officials from both sides last week saying that a deal is imminent. (Source: Defense News Early Bird/https://www.stripes.com/)
12 Jun 20. Denmark begins F-35 preparations. Denmark has begun preparations for receiving its first Lockheed Martin F-35A Lighting II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) combat aircraft, with the country’s parliament approving construction of facilities and the Royal Danish Air Force (RDAF) revealing the national livery to adorn the jets. With the RDAF set to receive the first of its 27-contracted F-35As in 2021, the Danish parliament on 11 June approved legislation to build dedicated facilities at Skveststrup Flyvestation in Southern Jutland ahead of the commencement of type-operations there in 2023.
“With the Folketing’s [Danish Parliament’s] adoption of the Civil Aviation Administration Skrydstrup Act today, construction of the complex to house the next aircraft can begin. First spades will be taken on Monday [15 June] by, among others, Minister of Defence Trine Bramsen and Bjørn Bisserup, Defense Secretary,” the country’s Ministry of Defence (MoD) announced.
As noted by the MoD, as well as instigating construction work of new F-35 facilities, the adoption of the Civil Aviation Administration Skrydstrup Act activates a compensation scheme for local residents set to be affected by future F-35 aircraft noise in the area. “A broad political majority consisting of the Left, Conservatives, the Danish People’s Party, the Liberal Alliance, the Radical Left, and the Social Democracy is behind the political agreement to compensate approximately 1,600 homes in the area of the additional noise the F-35 aircraft brings in comparison to the current F-16,” the MoD said. (Source: Jane’s)
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