Sponsored by Exensor
20 Jul 20. Saab Opens a Centre in the UK for Future Combat Air. Saab is to create a new FCAS centre in the United Kingdom as a hub for our participation in the FCAS (Future Combat Air Systems) programme. Saab is committed to build a long term relationship with the UK related to FCAS by investing initially 50 MGBP. The UK and Sweden signed a MoU on FCAS co-operation in July 2019. Saab is leading Sweden’s FCAS industrial participation in close co-operation with Sweden’s Ministry of Defence.
Saab continuously plans for future developments in every domain. Combat Air is an important part of our strategy for long-term growth and Saab is taking the necessary steps to remain at the forefront of System of Systems development and the advanced technologies within Combat Air.
”Combat Air is a key component of Sweden’s defence policy and it is defined as a national security interest. Saab’s FCAS strategy ensures that the technology is in place to support a long term future air capability and also to support continuous upgrades of Gripen E for decades to come”, says Micael Johansson, President and CEO of Saab.
“Saab took the decision to create a new FCAS centre so that we can further develop the close working relationship with the other FCAS industrial partners and the UK Ministry of Defence. This emphasises the importance of both FCAS and the United Kingdom to Saab’s future,” says Micael Johansson.
The location of Saab’s FCAS centre is currently being considered. The centre forms part of Saab’s long term plans for the UK market to develop indigenous capabilities, invest in research and development and grow intellectual property.
20 Jul 20. UK’s Tempest air defence project set for £50m Saab investment. Boost from Swedish contractor comes as Ministry of Defence weighs spending plans in strategic defence review. Sweden’s leading defence contractor will this week announce plans to invest an initial £50m in the UK to develop technology for future combat air systems. The move by Saab provides a timely boost to the UK-led Tempest future fighter project as the Ministry of Defence weighs its spending priorities for a strategic defence review that is expected later this year. Industry is hoping for a government commitment to the future combat air requirement in the review, people close to the subject said. Saab’s decision marks an intensification of its partnership with Britain’s BAE Systems on the Tempest programme, which also includes Leonardo of Italy. Tempest was launched in 2018 after France and Germany opted for their own new-generation combat air programme without the UK. The project is looking at a suite of technologies to be used in a combat air system, which could involve manned and unmanned aircraft, drones and laser weapons. Saab’s investment comes as Ben Wallace, defence secretary, is expected on Monday to announce commitments from UK-based companies to be suppliers to Tempest. These include GKN, Thales UK, Qinetiq, Martin-Baker and others.
The next-generation fighter programme will be in the spotlight this week, at the start of Farnborough Connect, a week-long series of online talks and seminars replacing the Farnborough air show, which was cancelled as a result of the coronavirus pandemic. Tempest is the centrepiece of Britain’s combat air strategy and was designed to help preserve the country’s expertise in military aerospace. The objective is to develop a sixth-generation combat sir system to enter service by the mid-2030s. The government has committed £2bn to fund the first stages of the project. Micael Johansson, Saab’s chief executive, said his company intended to set up a research centre in the UK to be close to BAE Systems’ Tempest teams, which are based in Lancashire. The investment was proof of his company’s commitment to the UK and the programme, he stressed. “Combat air capability is extremely important for us and a security interest for Sweden,” he said. “This is absolutely a sign that it is critically important to us to be part of this combat air development. It is a sign of how important the UK is to us.”
Saab, maker of the Gripen combat jet, employs more than 300 people in the UK and has long been a supplier to all three armed services. The number of jobs to be created by the £50m investment, which will focus on developing sensor and aeronautics technology, had not yet been decided, the company said. The Swedish defence ministry earlier this month said it intended to begin examining its requirements for a next-generation combat air system. In an apparent reference to Tempest, it said the study could include “studies, technology development, and demonstrator activities in collaboration with one or more international partners”. People working on the Tempest programme said the industrial collaboration was working well, despite the constraints of the coronavirus pandemic. “We are focusing on how we are going to operate rather than what we are going to be doing. Where you get delays is if you don’t sort out that construct early on,” said one senior Tempest executive. The project is expected to submit a business case for the programme by the end of this year, when the Ministry of Defence would be expected to make a decision on further funding. (Source: FT.com)
20 Jul 20. Future of Tempest fighter jet remains up in the air. Development of the Tempest is at a crossroads and could be dependent on more countries signing up to the project
Two years ago at the biennial Farnborough defence and aerospace jamboree, Britain’s military industrial political complex revealed the future.
The UK would be committing an initial £2 billion to the design and development of an independent, fighter-bomber aircraft to replace the Eurofighter Typhoon by 2035. It would harness the capabilities of Britain’s defence companies BAE Systems, Rolls-Royce and MBDA, the missile-maker joint venture between BAE, Airbus and Leonardo, the Italian company best known in the UK for its Agusta Westland helicopter subsidiary.
The aircraft is Tempest and it will be propelled and piloted by technology — electric, autonomous and not yet invented — and will command swarms of drones.
Two years on and Farnborough, which was supposed to open yesterday, has been consigned to webinars and Zoom meetings.
There are many questions about the development of Tempest. It is one of the unforeseen diversions resulting from the 2016 Brexit vote. An alliance between David Cameron, who was prime minister and President Sarkozy of France at the start of the last decade had indicated Britain’s military future would be an Anglo-French tie-in, and that a combat air strategy would centre on BAE and Dassault Aviation of France.
Soon after Brexit was set in train France and Germany decided that their future combat aircraft would be built between Dassault and Airbus, the Franco-German aerospace company.
Last year it was announced that Tempest would be led by BAE, teaming up with Sweden and the Saab aerospace group. A few months later it was announced Italy and Leonardo, which was snubbed by the Dassault-Airbus programme, would join Team Tempest.
The project is now at a crossroads. By now it had been assumed that one or two more big countries would have joined the partnership. India had been courted and it had been hoped that Japan would sign up. But any news on the latter is expected to be negative. By the end of this year, Team Tempest is due to submit its outline business case to the Ministry of Defence.
While it is a long-term project it needs to be pitched to a Treasury whose coffers have been emptied by the pandemic and with another defence review on the horizon. The strategic case was well made. In 2018 Tempest was a statement of intent. It was a framework to give confidence to and generate investment from the sector. It would inspire a future workforce. It would be an independent replacement for the Typhoon.
In the past two years BAE has worked up the business case before an expected approval of formal development and production in 2025.
Tempest, it was agreed, would need to be flexible. It would need to take account of technologies not yet created; military, political and strategic threats not yet known; and would have to satisfy the different needs of its partners, the RAF, and the Swedish and Italian air forces, and other customers who it can be assumed would include the Typhoon’s biggest buyer, Saudi Arabia.
Andrew Kennedy, strategic combat air campaigns director at BAE, says for the project to fly it needs to be “affordable and exportable” with a business case that allows BAE, Rolls and the other partners to make a financial return.
In reality, it is not yet known what Tempest will look like.
“It replaces the capabilities of the Typhoon but is not a like-for-like platform replacement,” Mr Kennedy says.
A squadron of say 16 Typhoons will not be replaced by 16 Tempest aircraft. Instead a squadron will be made of aircraft which when airborne would control a swarm of unmanned combat drones. If a Tempest aircraft is to be manned, the person in charge would not be so much a pilot as a mission controller. Or that operative could be located remotely.
It will not be powered by a conventional Rolls-Royce engine. Instead it is developing an electric alternative and Williams Advanced Engineering, an arm of the motor racing outfit, is working up the battery technology.
British industry, says Mr Kennedy, needs Tempest. At present 1,800 people are working on the project, rising to 2,500 by the end of the year. The combat air sector employs 46,000 people in the UK, accounts for 87 per cent of defence exports and provides £900 million a year in tax revenues.
“The outline business case needs to show confidence to the customer and to those who are investing significant amounts,” he says. “A sovereign industrial base gives us freedom of action and operation and how we deploy. It brings high value jobs, apprenticeships, regional benefits and exports.” (Source: Google/The Times)
BATTLESPACE Comment: The numbers required for the UK, Spain and Italy have always been too small to justify the large investment required to take Tempest to the next development stage. The Franco-German project suffers from the same problem. The natural solution would be to combine the two projects but this would result in resistance from the French as they did over Typhoon. The BATTLESPACE view is that he US will persuade the UK Team to join its consortium to develop the next iteration of F-35. BAE Systems already makes 15% of each F-35 and it would not want to lose this valuable position as sales are now taking off around the world.
17 Jul 20. It’s do or die for Germany’s new missile defense weapon. The German government continued another round of talks with vendors Lockheed Martin and MBDA this week about a contract for the TLVS missile defense system.
The ongoing negotiations suggest there is still no common ground on the legal framework for costs and risks associated with the next-generation program. Berlin had asked the contractors in early May to submit a revised bid, the third attempt to nail down a replacement for the country’s aging Patriot fleet.
For its part, the Defence Ministry is still expecting a formal offer later this summer, a spokeswoman told Defense News on Friday.
Hiccups lie mostly within the industry team, specifically relating to how and if the U.S. defense giant Lockheed can bend to Berlin’s demands that the contractors absorb the majority of risk if problems come up in the program.
German officials have so stretched the scope of desired capabilities of the former Medium Extended Air Defense System — the basis for TLVS — that the effort amounts to a new development, including a ramp for integrating defenses against hypersonic missiles.
Those high-tech aspirations come packaged in Germany’s new defense acquisition process that seeks to right past procurement failures by pushing more liability to companies.
The ongoing negotiations come with the understanding that the new offer, if Lockheed decides to go forward sometime next month, equates to a contract-ready agreement that would be presented to lawmakers after the summer break.
Next year is an election year in Germany, which means there’s little appetite to push big-ticket acquisitions come January.
A lot hangs on the TLVS program for Lockheed, as German defense leaders last year connected its outcome to the competition for a new heavy-lift helicopter fleet.
Lockheed’s subsidiary Sikorsky is offering the CH-53K for that race, going against Boeing’s CH-47 Chinook. (Source: Defense News)
17 Jul 20. Turkish defence industry says it can support Azerbaijan. Turkey’s defence industry chief said on Friday that his sector was ready to help Azerbaijan, which has seen border clashes with Armenia in which 16 people have been killed.
Turkey has strong historical and cultural ties with Azerbaijan, as well as joint energy projects.
President Tayyip Erdogan said on Tuesday that it would not hesitate to “stand against any attack” on Azerbaijan and that Armenia was “out of its depth” in the conflict.
On Friday, Defence Industry Director Ismail Demir tweeted that “Our defence industry, with all its experience, technology and capabilities, from our armed drones to our ammunition and missiles and our electronic warfare systems, is always at the disposal of Azerbaijan!”.
Fifteen soldiers from both sides and one civilian have died since Sunday in the clashes between the neighbouring former Soviet republics, which fought a war in the 1990s over the mountainous Nagorno-Karabakh region.
International concern is high because of the threat to stability in a region that hosts pipelines taking oil and gas from the Caspian Sea to global markets.
Demir, who met Azerbaijan’s deputy defence minister and air force commander Ramiz Tahirov in Ankara, said Turkey would help to modernise Azerbaijan’s army.
Turkish Defence Minister Hulusi Akar said Armenia had started the border clashes, and that it would be “drowned under the plot that they initiated”. (Source: Reuters)
16 Jul 20. Companies “scrambling” as EU-US Privacy Shield data sharing voided. Companies that routinely transfer data between the EU and the US are currently scrambling to find a legal way to do so, after Europe’s top court voided the previous mechanism, the EU-US Privacy Shield.
The decision made today by the European Court of Justice (ECJ), has been met with shock by much of the technology and business community. However, it has been welcomed by privacy campaigners, including Max Schrems, the Austrian that brought the case, who called it a “100% win”.
The case challenged the established EU-US Privacy Shield, which allowed companies to sign up to higher privacy standards prior to transferring data to the US. However, Schrems argued that it did not effectively protect EU citizens from US government surveillance, an argument that the ECJ has today upheld.
EU-US data sharing to be reconsidered as Privacy Shield struck down
For companies, this means they now have to find a new solution – and quickly.
“Every company which uses the Privacy Shield scheme to justify EU to US bulk data transfers now needs to find another legal route to justify the transfer,” said Daniel Tozer, head of data and technology at Harbottle & Lewis.
“These companies will be seeking urgent proposals from national data protection regulators for transition arrangements to be put in place whilst they make the changes.”
Darren Wray, CTO at Guardum, added that it would “leave many companies on both sides of the Atlantic scrambling to adjust their processes”.
“What this means for any organisation relying on the Privacy Shield is that they will no longer be able to share EU personal information when sending documents to businesses in the US,” he said.
“In many cases, the personal information may not be vital to the process, but the historically manual process of redacting documents has meant that organisations have taken the easy route by ensuring that their US partners are registered and comply with the Privacy Shield programme.”
For some companies, the solution is likely to be a reconsideration of cross-continental data sharing at all.
“There now aren’t many other options for EU-US data transfers and some companies will decide that these data transfers are no longer appropriate and will restructure their operations to reduce or remove such transfers,” said Tozer.
“A case-by-case assessment of data flows to the US and other countries with potential surveillance issues is required urgently.”
Challenges ahead for regulators
Notably, this is set to place a significant burden on regulators to find a solution to the now-voided EU-US Privacy Shield.
“This crying out for urgent guidance from regulators. It is impractical for any but the largest businesses to do this assessment,” said Renzo Marchini, privacy, security and information partner at Fieldfisher.
He drew particular attention to Standard Contractual Clauses (SCCs), which – as a result of the ruling – will now be subject to increased scrutiny, but are permitted to be used. However he argued that these too could be seriously impacted by the ruling.
“It will be difficult for the regulators to allow SCCs for transfers to the US. If there is too much scope for intrusion into European individuals’ privacy under Privacy Shield, how can there not be for SCCs?
“The regulators are themselves in an unenviable position. They are supposed to police these assessments and transfers. Even if a transfer relies on SCCs, a transfer should be stopped if the regulator identifies that the protections are not there (and the business carried on regardless).”
Brexit brings data sharing challenges to the UK
Of course, the looming spectre of Brexit also adds an additional complication to the situation, as many expect data sharing between the UK and the EU to be subject to similar scrutiny to that shared with the US following the UK’s departure.
“The ruling on the Privacy Shield is likely to have implications for the UK’s hopes for a post-Brexit data protection adequacy ruling from the European Commission,” said Bridget Treacy, data privacy partner at Hunton Andrews Kurth LLP.
“The UK can expect its surveillance laws to be subject to similar scrutiny to those of the US, to assess whether they respect the privacy rights of EU citizens.”
This is a view echoed by Harbottle & Lewis’s Tozer.
“Following the transition period, the UK will become a ‘third country’ to the EU,” he said.
“This judgement raises questions about the UK’s ability to be awarded data protection “adequacy” by the EU, given the UK’s own surveillance laws and its membership of the Five Eyes programme. Data transfers between the EU and the UK from 1 January 2021 could well become very challenging indeed.” (Source: naval-technology.com)
16 Jul 20. US Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft could replace Chinook for UK. US Army Secretary Ryan D. McCarthy said in a press briefing the UK was interested in how it could replace the Chinook heavy-left helicopter with the in-development Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft in the long-term.
His comments came as this week the US and UK signed a joint modernisation agreement covering the development of long-range precision fires, networks and Future Vertical Lift capabilities of both countries’ armies.
Speaking during a telephone briefing McCarthy sketched out further details of the collaboration including the UK’s interest in the Future Long-Range Assault Aircraft (FLRAA).
Commenting on the possibility of the UK eventually replacing the Chinook, McCarthy said: “On the lift side, they are right-sizing their portfolio of lift platforms today. So they’re on the cusp of another procurement of CH-47 Chinooks, but they’re also looking at, over the long term, what would ultimately be the replacement platform, potentially a long-range assault aircraft.”
FLRAA is one of a number of Future Vertical Lift efforts underway by the US Army, the goal of the programme being to develop a successor to the UH-60 Blackhawk. Prototype FLRAA candidates include the Sikorsky-Boeing SB-1 Defiant and Bell V-280 Valor.
Commenting on the collaboration agreement, McCarthy said it was ‘military-to-military’ and locked in on a number of development efforts adding that on some fronts industry involvement and buying decisions could come soon.
McCarthy said: “It is military-to-military and what we did was really lock in on a certain set of weapons systems: precision strike missiles, the lift platforms I mentioned, the common operating picture and some on the networks. On the soldier lethality front, the next-generation squad weapon, night-vision goggles. We talked about – to them about the integrated visual augmentation system as well.
“So that is at the mil-to-mil, and at the – if the interest leads to a buying decision, then obviously we will bring industry into the fold, but that could come very soon on a couple of them.”
On long-range precision fires, McCarthy added that the UK was interested in either recapitalising MLRS or looking to Lockheed Martin’s Precision Strike Missile (PrSM) to upgrade its capabilities.
Before taking questions McCarthy commented on the Anglo-American joint modernisation agreement saying: “Starting in the United Kingdom, great discussions with counterparts where we talked about joint training exercises, but in particular made the announcement of a pursuit of a joint modernisation effort where we are looking at elaborating on the development of weapons systems and long-range precision fires network, future vertical lift platforms, as well as soldier and ground lethality capabilities.”
McCarthy has been in Europe visiting US allies on a trip that was originally planned for March but was delayed due to the ongoing Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic. (Source: army-technology.com)
15 Jul 20. Germany sets up European defense agenda with a waning US footprint in mind. The European Union should prepare for the possibility of a gradual disengagement by the United States from the continent, even if Democratic challenger Joe Biden beats President Donald Trump in the November election, according to Germany’s defense minister.
Speaking before the European parliament on Tuesday, Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said she believes only the “tone” in trans-Atlantic relations would change following a Biden win. The reorientation of America’s foreign policy toward China as a global rival would remain a key driving force in Washington, possibly at the expense of Europe, she said.
“If that is the case, it means we Europeans must become able to act more so than is the case today,“ she said in testimony meant to lay out Germany’s defense agenda during a six-month turn at the helm of the European Council of the EU that began July 1.
To be sure, Kramp-Karrenbauer stressed that Europe remains dependent on U.S. and NATO support, and that there’s no sign of that equation changing anytime soon. German leaders have consistently held up the trans-Atlantic alliance as a cornerstone of their geopolitical calculus, even as Trump took shots at Berlin for the its lackluster defense spending.
But the defense minister’s assessment that nothing other than the style of discourse would change with Trump’s exit — he is trailing Biden in recent polls — may be a sign that Germans suspect bigger forces at play on the other side of the Atlantic.
In that light, the Defence Ministry’s defense agenda for the EU reads as something of a toolkit to avoid getting caught flat-footed. Creating a “strategic compass“ for the bloc, as Kramp-Karrenbauer called it, would be a key step in ensuring all member states back a common foreign and defense policy.
An EU-wide threat assessment is the first step in that process, overseen by the EU Intelligence and Situation Centre and supported by member nations‘ intelligence services, she said. The assessment is slated to be “far along“ and will ideally be finished by the end of the year, when Germany hands the presidency baton to Slovenia, Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
Also needed is a bloc-wide “operational understanding“ for whenever there is actual fighting to be done, according to the defense minister. Even peacekeeping and training missions, which tend to dominate the EU mission roster, always come with more kinetic, force-protection elements, for example, and there should be a process in place for setting up those types of operations, she argued.
“You could approach it with the idea that this would fall to the same few countries in Europe, or you could develop a method as part of the strategic compass that this would become a matter for all members,“ Kramp-Karrenbauer said.
West Africa could be a first test case of waning U.S. concerns about European interests. An American counterterrorism mission there has been crucial in supporting a U.N. peacekeeping force of EU and African troops. European leaders consider the region a hotbed for terrorism, fearing the possibility of fighters making their way to Europe.
But the mission is controversial in the United States, and an American withdrawal could be in the offing at some point, Kramp-Karrenbauer said. “That is a scenario that we could find ourselves confronted with in the future.“
There is also the question of a withdrawal of almost 10,000 U.S. forces from Germany, the details of which are still somewhat shrouded in mystery.
Hashed out by Trump and a small circle of White House advisers, military leaders are still figuring out the details for implementing the decision, Army Secretary Ryan McCarthy said in a phone call with reporters Wednesday.
McCarthy said he discussed the matter with U.S. Air Force Gen. Tod Wolters, NATO’s top general for Europe, earlier that day. But he had little to share about the process, saying only that Pentagon officials would release more details in the coming weeks.
The “repositioning,“ as McCarthy called the move, is controversial among defense analysts on both sides of the Atlantic because it could simultaneously hurt America’s and Europe’s defense posture. Germany is a hub for U.S. troop training and logistics that would be difficult to quickly recreate elsewhere, the argument goes.
The fact that military officials are only now doing the analytic legwork for a possible redeployment shows that no such examinations took place before Trump’s announcement, retired Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, a former commander of U.S. Army forces in Europe, told Defense News.
Hodges said he was encouraged to see U.S. lawmakers question the decision, forcing a say on the issue by way of legislation. “Congressional support for NATO and for the German-U.S. relationship remains very strong,“ he said.
Meanwhile, opinions differ on how much of a change a Biden presidency would bring to the trans-Atlantic alliance.
“If you look at everything that Joe Biden has said, you certainly get the impression that he is interested in restoring alliances, including in Europe,“ said Jeffrey Rathke, president of the American Institute for Contemporary German Studies at Johns Hopkins University.
“Of course there would be a different tone,“ he added. “But the substance would be different as well.“
For now, the German Defence Ministry’s apparent trajectory of planning for a future where U.S. commitment may be iffy at best can bring more good than harm, he argued.
Fears of an increasingly belligerent Russia and Trump’s overt questioning of international alliances as key to keeping the peace have driven a wave of increased defense spending on the continent in recent years. “The things that Europe needs to do for its own security are precisely the things that improve the trans-Atlantic security relationship,“ Rathke said.
When it comes to Washington’s focus on China versus Europe, paying attention to different regions of the world should be possible simultaneously, he argued. “This is not an either-or situation. That’s not how the United States should look at it.“ (Source: Defense News)
15 Jul 20. ‘Lamentable’ defence spending decisions attacked by MPs. MPs have accused the Ministry of Defence of a “lamentable” failure to properly fund new military equipment required for the armed forces.
The Public Accounts Committee said it was “extremely frustrated” that the MoD had still not made the hard choices needed to plug a £13bn funding gap. The warning comes ahead of a government review which is expected to overhaul defence procurement. The MoD said it was committed to securing the best equipment.
In a highly critical report, the Public Accounts Committee – which examines public spending – expressed “extreme” frustration that “we see the same problems year after year”.
The MPs accused the MoD of failing to make the “hard choices” necessary to plug a gap of up to £13bn pounds in the current equipment programme.
“The government has still not taken the strategic decisions required to establish an affordable equipment plan and deliver the crucial military capabilities needed by our armed forces.
“The department’s lamentable failure to get a grip on the equipment plan continues, despite this committee and the NAO [National Audit Office] consistently highlighting serious affordability issues in the plan year after year.”
Committee chair Meg Hillier said: “The MoD knows what it’s getting wrong. We know what it’s getting wrong.
“For years, we have made concrete proposals to improve delivery of key strategic priorities and here we are again, with the same gaps in our national defence and the same risk to our armed forces personnel, year after year.”
Conservative MP Mark Francois recently warned General Sir Nick Carter, chief of the defence staff, that he should “nip back to the department and ask them to sort their bloody selves out, because if not, Cummings is going to come down there and sort you out his own way, and you won’t like it.”
The prime minister’s chief advisor, Dominic Cummings has been a harsh critic of defence procurement in the past.
The government has said its new integrated defence and security review – due to be completed next year – would seek “innovative ways” to promote UK interests while committing to spending targets.
A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “As the committee acknowledges, managing complex defence programmes can be challenging and we continue to reduce the gap between our budget and predicted costs, achieving £7.8bn of efficiency savings last year and securing an extra £2.2bn for defence.” (Source: BBC)
15 Jul 20. Saab chief urges UK and EU to avoid defence co-operation ‘disaster.’ Micael Johansson says loss of industry ties would hit critical mass, capability and tech. The head of Saab, Britain’s partner in the Tempest next generation fighter jet programme, has warned it would be a “disaster” if the UK quits the EU without a defence co-operation agreement that ensures access to both markets for industry. Micael Johansson, who took over as chief executive last autumn, said there was a risk to Europe’s strategic interests and to defence industries on both sides of the Channel if the UK forged even closer ties with the US at the expense of European collaboration. “If we lose the UK, if it is too close to the US, we will lose critical mass, capability, technology, and partnership with UK industry. That is not good,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times ahead of the group’s results on Friday. He called for UK companies to have access to the European Defence Fund’s €8bn budget and for EU industry to participate in UK equipment programmes. “It must work in both directions,” he said. Both the UK and the US want the EU to give them the chance of joining European Defence Fund projects.
Mr Johansson’s comments come as the Swedish defence group, which makes the Gripen fighter jet, searches for strategic partnerships as part of a global expansion programme. Saab is a remarkable company. They do a fully fledged combat aircraft on their own. Sash Tusa, aerospace analyst at Agency Partners Saab, which is 30 per cent owned by the Wallenberg family’s investment company Investor AB, and has most of its production facilities in Sweden, intended to invest more in the development of intellectual property in countries such as the UK, US, Australia, and Brazil, Mr Johansson said. It would also “look at changes in the supply chain” to accommodate the international strategy. Mr Johansson has taken charge at a critical moment. Two years ago, the group called on shareholders for SKr6bn to fund development of new technologies and expansion into new markets.
Saab had already invested heavily after a contract win for its Gripen fighter in Brazil, which required manufacturing facilities to be built there, as well as for a training aircraft to be developed with Boeing. The rights issue sent the company’s shares into a tailspin from which they have never recovered. On Tuesday, they were trading around Skr244 a share, against close to SKr400 the day before the rights issue in October 2018. Heavy cash outflows over the past two years have weighed on investor sentiment. However, Saab has promised it will return to positive operating cash flow in 2020, even with the disruption from the pandemic to the roughly 15 per cent of the business that is not defence related. A prototype of a Tempest stealth fighter jet © PA That means a smooth acceleration in production and deliveries of its new Gripen-E/F variant for Sweden and Brazil and of its airborne surveillance platform, GlobalEye. Investors are watching for any hiccups that could affect the company’s chances in big fighter contract competitions under way in Finland, Canada, Columbia and India. This year should mark a change of direction in cash flow, said Pavan Daswani, aerospace and defence analyst with Citi investment bank: Gripen deliveries are accelerating and R&D spending is starting to fall. Saab is 36th in the league table of global defence companies, on sales of Skr35.4bn last year.
Without the resources or political influence of a Lockheed Martin (annual defence sales of more than $50bn) or a Boeing (defence sales of $26bn) to clinch export orders, Saab has had to make its living from engineering ingenuity. “Saab is a remarkable company,” said Sash Tusa, aerospace analyst at Agency Partners. “They do a fully fledged combat aircraft on their own. Their radar technology is up there with the far bigger Leonardo and Thales. And they retain the ability to design and build conventional submarines. None of these are easy, and they are done . . . [by] a company with annual revenues of about $4.1bn, and in a country with a population of only 10m.” One of Saab’s strengths has been to design an aircraft that is more affordable for governments that do not need the full capabilities of Lockheed Martin’s F35, Dassault Aviation’s Rafale or Europe’s Eurofighter. “Their target audience is quite niche,” says Mr Daswani. “They are the low cost equivalent, but it is still quite a strong product . . . It is cheaper than peers not just to buy, but to operate.” Saab’s use of digital technology to cut development costs and design an easily upgradeable jet has also helped. Recommended UK defence industry UK in talks with Sweden over next-generation fighter jet “They haven’t just broken the cost curve — where every generation of jet gets more expensive than the last. They have pretty much knocked the cost curve out of the park,” said one aerospace executive from a rival jet maker. “We have been on the driving range, while they have been out on the golf course.”
The digital design and modelling processes used by Saab were a major draw for Britain, France and Germany when they began to consider partners for their own next generation combat aircraft. Mr Johansson said Saab had been asked to participate in the Franco-German project launched in 2018. Instead it chose to be part of the UK’s Tempest. The UK had offered Saab involvement in design and development, while the Franco-German offer was to participate only once the concept had been decided. “It was a no-brainer for us to choose that option instead of waiting a couple of years to get a fraction of the Franco-German programme.” For Saab, a next generation programme such as Tempest — which could be a jet or perhaps a complex system of systems — may be the path to an even bigger market. “Technology is moving so fast . . . we have to work with other countries,” Mr Johansson said. “Everything will not be in Sweden going forward.” (Source: FT.com)
14 Jul 20. Huawei banned from UK 5G network from 2021. The government has banned Chinese technology firm Huawei from providing telecommunications equipment to the UK’s mobile 5G network from the start of 2021.
It also committed to a timetable of removing Huawei from the network completely by 2027 and it will be illegal for telecommunications firms such as Vodafone or BT to buy Huawei equipment.
It marks a major reversal of the government’s decision in January, which gave Huawei restricted access to the non-sensitive parts of the network with a market cap limited at 35%.
This decision, made by Prime Minister Boris Johnson, went against months of intense lobbying from the US. The Trump administration has insisted that Huawei’s close ties to the Chinese government makes it a threat to national security. Huawei has repeatedly denied any allegations that it is a security risk.
British intelligence agencies have long insisted they could manage ‘high risk’ vendors such as Huawei. But in May the US imposed fresh sanctions on Huawei that limited its ability to source 5G microchips, which the National Cyber Security Centre said would make it harder to vet Huawei’s technology.
Announcing the decision in the House of Commons, culture secretary Oliver Dowden said:
“Given the uncertainty this creates around Huawei’s supply chain, the UK can no longer be confident it will be able to guarantee the security of future Huawei 5G equipment affected by the change in US foreign direct product rules.” (Source: army-technology.com)
14 Jul 20. UK CDS advocates multi-year financial settlement for defence. Speaking at a Defence Select Committee hearing, UK Chief of Defence General Sir Nick Carter advocated for a multi-year financial settlement for defence to help it achieve better value for money and future-proofing of plans.
Carter said that over the past few years UK defence had been living ‘hand to mouth’ which had made it harder to plan and make future-proofed decisions on capabilities.
Carter told the Committee: “That is absolutely what we intend to do in the course of this integrated review. The bottom line is that what we need is consistency in the budget.
“We would like to have a settlement that is long term because then we can live within our means and take the decisions that have to be taken to achieve that effect.”
He added that the timing of the Integrated Review coinciding with the Comprehensive Spending Review would give the Ministry of Defence (MOD) to hopefully plan for the long term.
“We are looking forward to a review that is aligned with the comprehensive spending review and that will give us the chance, we hope, to have a programme that is fixed to enable that long-term planning, which is critical for the country,” Carter said.
Carter said that a clear budget picture over three to five years would help the MOD make better decisions and help prevent delays to future programmes. (Source: army-technology.com)
13 Jul 20. Ministers Questioned on Decision to Resume Arms Sales Used for War in Yemen. Emily Thornberry asked an urgent question on why the UK Government has decided to once again sell arms to the Saudi-led coalition for use in the war in Yemen.
Since 2015, a coalition of countries led by Saudi Arabia have staged bombing campaigns, naval blockades and ground forces in Yemen. These attacks have focused on the Houthi rebels who ousted Yemeni President, Abdrabbuh Mansur Hadi, after mass protests and discontent, but have also killed around 12,000 civilians, with millions more displaced and homeless. The UK Government is backing the coalition, and since 2015 has reportedly licensed £5.3bn worth of arms to Saudi Arabia. Under UK export policy, military equipment licences should not be granted if there is a “clear risk” that weapons might be used in a “serious violation of international humanitarian law”.
In June 2019, the Court of Appeal ruled that the Government had not properly assessed this risk. However, last week the Secretary for International Trade, Liz Truss, announced that arms sales to Saudi Arabia were to resume.
Greg Hands MP: “isolated incidents”
Answering the urgent question on behalf of Secretary of State, Minister for Trade Policy Greg Hands told the House that, in line with the Court of Appeal’s request, the Secretary of State had “retaken the licensing decisions”.
Mr Hands said that all new and existing applications for Saudi Arabia would be assessed against the revised methodology, which considers whether the weapons would be used for a “serious violation of international humanitarian law”.
However, he said that it was “extremely difficult to reach firm conclusions” about whether specific incidents did contradict international humanitarian law and therefore if a possible breach occurred it is be regarded as if it were a definite breach.
The Minister said that any such breaches were “isolated incidents” and that Saudi Arabia had a “genuine intent and the capacity to comply with international humanitarian law”. He stated that the decision to resume arms sales was because the Secretary of State had assessed that there was “not a clear risk” that the weapons might be used in a serious violation of international human rights.He concluded: “There is not a clear risk that the export of arms and military equipment to Saudi Arabia might be used in the commission of a serious violation of international humanitarian law.”
Emily Thornberry MP: “publish the full assessment”
Responding on behalf of the Opposition, Emily Thornberry said she was sorry the Secretary of State did not attend the House in person.
Ms Thornberry said she welcomed the Secretary of State’s assessment of possible violations of international law, but asked why, over the past five years, ministers had said an assessment “was impossible for Britain to make” and “could only be made by Saudi Arabia”. She asked if those ministers were “simply wrong”.
The Shadow Minister questioned how many “isolated incidents” were identified, “so that we can understand how they define the word “isolated'”. She also asked why the Government reported finding “no patterns of civilian infrastructure being targeted”, when for 17 months Saudi planes “systematically destroyed” Yemen’s means of food production.
She stated that “indiscriminate bombing of civilian areas is in itself a war crime”, and asked therefore how the Government could say that the Saudis did not mean to break international law “because their violations ‘occurred at different times, in different circumstances and for different reasons'”, when that is the “very definition” of ‘indiscriminate’ .
Ms Thornberry also questioned why Saudi Arabia has failed to comply with international law why the Government concluded it had the capacity and intent to do so, and asked for the full review, including analysis of individual incidents, to be published.
The Member ended: “If the Minister believes this decision is not just moral and lawful but correct, then surely he has nothing to fear from publishing that assessment and letting us all decide for ourselves.”(Source: defense-aerospace.com/House of Common Committee)
13 Jul 20. BAE puts suppliers on notice of major shake-up. Defence company plans to use innovative manufacturing techniques on new fighter jet. BAE aims to use 3D printing for about one-third of the components on Tempest. BAE Systems has put its UK suppliers on notice of a major shake-up by saying it expects to make far greater use of innovative manufacturing techniques in its next generation combat aircraft. BAE has set targets for 30 per cent of the components of the Tempest fighter jet to be made through 3D printing, and for 50 per cent of the aircraft to be put together by robots on the UK defence group’s assembly line. Charles Woodburn, BAE chief executive, said: “To stay at the forefront of this strategically important industry, we have to radically change the way we design and build combat air systems.” David Holmes, BAE manufacturing director, said he expected new suppliers to “come on board” the Tempest programme, potentially from outside the aerospace industry, as a result of the innovative manufacturing processes. “You may see traditional suppliers start to disappear,” he said in an interview with the Financial Times. BAE is working with hundreds of suppliers on the Tempest programme. The warning by BAE comes as the UK aerospace supply chain reels from a sharp downturn in demand for civilian aircraft because of the coronavirus crisis. Final checks prior to the unveiling of a model of the new Tempest fighter jet in 2018 © Tolga Akmen/AFP The government’s commitment of £2bn of initial funding for Tempest — launched in 2018 to ensure the UK’s capability to develop and build a fighter jet — is being seen by many in the aerospace industry as important support during the downturn, which has already cost thousands of jobs in the sector.
But BAE’s suppliers will have to adapt to meet the Tempest programme’s aim of cutting by half the cost and time needed to produce a complex combat aircraft. Justin Bronk, analyst at the Royal United Services Institute, a think-tank, estimated that the cash cost of the current generation fighter Typhoon, built as part of a four-nation partnership, was £25bn, adjusted for inflation. Already, the BAE team working on Tempest has reduced the production time of one large part located in the rear fuselage of the aircraft from about two years to two months by using additive manufacturing, or 3D printing. In the future, instead of ordering some components from suppliers, BAE could envisage printing the parts in-house. “There will be a reshaping of the supply chain and a reshaping of the work undertaken within the [BAE] factory,” said Mr Holmes. BAE aims to use 3D printing for about one-third of the components on Tempest, against less than 1 per cent on the Typhoon. The target of having 50 per cent of Tempest assembled using robots compares to no automation on the Typhoon, said Mr Holmes. The manufacturing techniques identified for Tempest are being spun out into the Typhoon programme to prove their effectiveness. Early results give BAE confidence that the target of halving the cost of Tempest’s development can be met, said Mr Holmes, as long as the company had “an end to end supply chain” that was fit for purpose. The new technologies to be used on Tempest “do pose a threat” to traditional suppliers, said Andrew Mair, head of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance, one of the UK’s largest aerospace hubs. “If you are going to additively make more complex parts you will need far less assembly and welding,” he added. Instead of ordering some components from suppliers,
BAE could envisage printing the parts in-house © Ray Troll/BAE Systems Machiners and fabricators, who weld sheet metal into components, were most at risk and accounted for more than half of the Midlands Aerospace Alliance’s members, said Mr Mair. In recognition of this, the alliance has been helping smaller suppliers to experiment with 3D printing as part of research programmes for several years, he added. Trade unions are also supporting the shift, even though the consequence will be fewer traditional manufacturing jobs, according to Rhys McCarthy, national officer for aerospace at Unite. “There will be some jobs lost but there will also be new higher value jobs created,” he said. The union is working on a new technology agreement with BAE to formalise commitments to retraining. Analysts welcomed the advanced manufacturing processes being developed for Tempest but warned that the assembly of the jet was not the biggest challenge in terms of cost or potential delays. “The main issues that tend to drive cost and delay are the testing, the modifications enabling it to be consistently upgraded and, increasingly, software,” said Mr Bronk. (Source: FT.com)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Home land Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company