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21 Feb 20. ‘Europeans don’t have a choice’: Naval Group boss pushes for shipyard consolidation. Europe’s naval sector has no choice but to consolidate if it is to remain competitive with new entrants on the international market such as China, Russia and South Korea, according to the outgoing CEO of France’s Naval Group.
At his last news conference before retiring on March 24, Hervé Guillou said that “over the past 15 years we’ve seen one Chinese, one Russian, two Koreans, the Japanese, Singaporeans, Indians — and I could go on — arriving on the naval defense market. They are posing a considerable challenge and that’s why Europe must consolidate.”
Guillou said that between 2009 and 2018 — small ships such as offshore patrol vessels and offshore supply vessels excluded — China produced 136 military ships, of which 11 were exported; Russia produced 68, of which 14 were exported; South Korea’s Hyundai Heavy Industries and Daewoo (now consolidated into one business) produced 40 ships, of which 13 were exported; and Japan’s shipyards made 19, all for its domestic market. Two of the United States’ shipbuilders made 78 ships, of which six were exported; Europe’s 12 shipyards produced 80 ships, of which 49 were for the export market.
The figures given by Naval Group are estimates supplied by the European economic group Euroyards, which uses sources such as the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute and IHS Markit.
“What more need I say?” Guillou remarked at the Friday briefing. “We are the only ones in the world who have to export over half our production in order to survive.”
“I’ve always considered, personally, that exporting was an opportunity, but what I wanted to underline is that in any case we don’t have a choice. When you are only two on a U.S. domestic market which provides 80 percent financing at cost-plus pricing and margins of more than 10 percent, then you can stay in your comfort zone and don’t have to take unmeasured risks in Australia, Egypt, Romania or Belgium to win business that you’ve fought for tooth and nail,” he added.
“Europeans don’t have a choice. Not one European domestic market is sufficiently large, including the French market, to maintain the skills and levels of competitivity which we currently enjoy and are the only thing that enables the French Navy to be the world’s second navy from a technological point of view, and to have the format which it does with the budget that it has.”
Guillou added that Naval Group will be the core around which a future “Naval Airbus” would be built “because we have the means and the desire to do so … and other companies don’t.”
He also announced that Spain has joined efforts by Greece and Naviris, the joint venture between Italy’s Fincantieri and Naval Group, to fulfill the European Patrol Corvette program. “Naviris will be undertaking four worldwide campaigns,” Guillou said without giving further details.
Guillou’s replacement, Pierre Eric Pommellet, 52, previously served as an executive vice president at Thales. Although the French government has not officially announced his appointment, Guillou did mention Pommellet several times as his successor. (Source: Defense News)
20 Feb 20. France, Germany sign contract to develop fighter jet prototype. France and Germany signed a 150m euro ($161.84m) deal on Thursday to develop a prototype of the next generation fighter jet, a project seen as vital for Europe to defend itself without relying on allies in an increasingly uncertain world.
Dassault Aviation <AVMD,PA> and Airbus will build the aircraft, which is expected to be operational from 2040 with a view to replacing Dassault’s Rafale and Germany’s Eurofighter warplanes over time.
“This is a very ambitious project between France, Germany and joined by Spain,” French Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly told reporters after a signing ceremony with his counterparts from the other two countries.
“It will enable our nations to face the threats and challenges in the second half of the 21st century … and illustrates our will and ambition for a European defence.”
Germany’s parliament approved financing for the project last week. Spain is party to the initial phase and will formally join the project later in 2020, investing about 50m euros.
The new Future Combat Air System’s (SCAF) contract includes the initial research and technology for the prototype aircraft, the engine, drones to accompany the warplane and an air combat cloud.
The prototype will see total investment of about 4bn euros before it is completed in 2026. Production of the jet is due to begin in 2040.
Dassault and Airbus will build the fighter jet. Safran and MTU Aero Engines will develop the engine. Airbus and MBDA will work on the drones. Airbus and Thales SA are in charge of the digital aspects.
The project faces competition from Britain, which in 2018 launched its own plans for a new combat jet dubbed “Tempest”. French officials have said they hope the two projects will eventually merge.
Industry executives have urged European capitals to move swiftly or risk losing out in a global market to bigger players led by the United States, or even China in the future. (Source: Reuters)
20 Feb 20. BAE Systems CEO optimistic about future Typhoon orders. The chief executive of BAE Systems (BAES.L) is optimistic about the future of the Typhoon fighter jet, saying that more orders were possible. Charles Woodburn told reporters on a call on Thursday that there was an opportunity to sell more Typhoons to Germany as well as other countries.
“Within the Middle East region there are a number of other customers in addition to Saudi who I think in future will be looking at additional Typhoons,” he said.
Asked about a British project to build a new fighter jet, a project which involves Sweden and Italy, Woodburn said that other countries could also join and the UK government was leading talks.
“I think there are conversations ongoing with other potentially interested parties,” he said. (Source: Reuters)
20 Feb 20. Estonia approves MoD development plan for 2021–24. Estonian Defence Minister Jüri Luik has approved a new Ministry of Defence (MoD) development plan for 2021–24, his ministry announced on its website on 19 February. The plan aims to improve situational awareness, communication capabilities, and the equipment of units, the MoD added. This will include NATO-compliant maritime surveillance and the development of a tactical communications system that is interoperable with Estonia’s allies. Luik said EUR200m (USD216m) would be invested over the four years covered by the plan in intelligence and early warning and communications at various levels. By 2024, the Estonian Defence Forces will be equipped with modern command and communications systems and anti-tank weapons, the 1st Infantry Brigade will include three armoured infantry battalions, and the 1st Infantry Brigade’s mobility and ability to assemble quickly will be improved, according to Luik. (Source: Jane’s)
16 Feb 20. Europeans crank up defense spending amid doubts over US backing. European nations are spending more on defense as they harbor doubts about America’s commitment to the continent despite the US troop presence here, according to a new study by the London-based International Institute for Strategic Studies.
Countries here spent $289bn in 2019, which is 4.2 percent more than in 2018. Within that budget, the share of new investments grew to 23.1 percent from 19.8 percent, analysts wrote in their annual study on global defense capabilities, dubbed “Military Balance 2020” and released at the Munich Security Conference.
Clocking in at 4 percent, global defense spending saw a similar increase, the largest in ten years. Nations are spending more because they have recovered from the financial crisis and due to what IISS director-general John Chipman dubbed “sharpening threat perceptions.”
For Europe, the main worry is Russia, especially on the eastern flank. The Pentagon in response has shored up its troop presence on the continent following Moscow’s annexation of Crimea from Ukraine in 2014.
The trans-Atlantic relationship has turned somewhat icy since President Donald Trump took office, however. Trump has repeatedly claimed, in strong terms, that Europe is taking advantage of the United Stated on defense and trade. Those proclamations are viewed by many here as part of a pattern in Washington that eschews multilateralism as an organizing principle of the West.
In that context, the new study argues, the U.S. troop presence may be losing its shine as a manifestation of America’s bond with Europe.
The same logic also applies elsewhere on the globe, according to Chipman. “Within NATO and beyond, the arrival of additional US personnel and equipment is not necessarily sufficient anymore to dispel allies’ and partners’ concerns over US strategy, commitment and engagement, or wholly deter opponents,” he told reporters.
The think tank’s observation undercuts a longstanding argument in Trump’s Washington that harsh White House rhetoric should be taken with a grain of salt while the Pentagon is still hard at work in maintaining old alliances around the globe, most visibly by basing U.S. forces there.
“Deterrence is not only about disposition of forces,” Chipman told Defense News in a brief interview. “Every US defense secretary reiterates the commitment to Europe as being reflected in spending. But when you have a commander-in-chief who puts doubt on that, it doesn’t matter how much you spend.”
The IISS argument fits into the theme of this year’s Munich Security Conference, “Westlessness.” The term of art is meant to describe the community of western countries drifting apart as governments realize that the alliance’s common values may no longer be universally shared as they once were.
NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg, for his part, still believes the West, with NATO as its most prominent defense organization, can count on the United States. Speaking with reporters at the Munich Security Conference, he said the West maintains the ability to act, if necessary, citing America’s commitment and troop presence in Europe as a major enabler.
Washington’s defense spending, meanwhile, sat at $684.6bn in 2019, according to the think tank. “The nominal increase in U.S. defense spending – at $53.4bn – came close to equalling the UK’s entire budget on defense of $54.8bn. This nominal U.S. increase would, if measured on its own, constitute the seventh-largest defense budget in the world.”
China and Russia spent $181.1bn and $61.6bn on defense in 2019, respectively, according to the study. (Source: Defense News)
18 Feb 20. Turkey reveals new plan to buy drones, helicopters and air defense systems. Turkey’s defense procurement agency has unveiled an ambitious procurement plan for 2020, even as its economy seeks to recover from a recession and the government spends money fighting wars in multiple theaters, including Iraq and Syria.
Under the plan, the Presidency of Defense Industries, or SSB, said the Akinci, an attack drone built by Baykar, will be delivered to the military at the end of 2020. On Jan. 20, the Akinci successfully performed its second round of test flights. Selçuk Bayraktar, Baykar’s technical director, said the second test lasted 66 minutes.
Also this year, according to SSB, delivery of the kamikaze drone Kargu-2 will begin. Under a contract with the state-controlled defense technologies concern STM, the Turkish government will acquire a total of 356 Kargu-2 drones.
According to the work plan, STM will also start delivering the Alpagu, a fixed-wing, autonomous tactical attack drone. Military officials say their asymmetrical warfare efforts against Kurdish militants in southeast Turkey would largely rely on the Alpagu in drone-centric fighting.
In addition, the procurement agency said it will sign a contract for the production of cargo drones.
SSB said the Land Forces will sign in 2020 a contract for the acquisition of scores of basic trainer helicopters. In the 1990s, Turkey procured 33 AB206 and AB206R choppers, made by Bell, for the Land Forces and the Gendarmerie. SSB sought bids for trainer helicopters in July 2019. Industry sources say potential bidders are Airbus, maker of the H135; AgustaWestland, maker of the TH-119; and Bell, maker of the single-engine GXi and the twin-engine 429 GlobalRanger.
SSB expects deliveries for the T625 helicopter program to begin in 2020. The T625 Gökbey is a utility helicopter developed locally by Turkish Aerospace Industries. Despite the 2020 target for deliveries, industry sources say deliveries would probably start in 2021. TAI’s sister company, Tusas Engine Industries, is developing an indigenous engine, known as the TS1400, for the T625.
Also in 2020, according to the plan, TAI will start delivery of its ATAK FAZ-2, an advanced version of the ATAK T129 helicopter gunships built under license from the Italian-British company AgustaWestland. The ATAK FAZ-2 features advanced laser warning and electronic warfare systems. Turkey plans to buy a batch of 21 ATAK FAZ-2.
SSB hopes that at the end of 2020, Turkey’s most critical naval program will come to the delivery stage when the TCG Anadolu, a landing platform dock, will enter service. The multipurpose amphibious assault vessel will be the biggest warship in Turkey’s inventory. It is being built by Turkish shipyards Sedef under license from Spain’s Navantia.
“The [LPD] program is progressing just as planned,” said SSB’s head, Ismail Demir.
However, a London-based Turkey specialist told Defense News that parts of the new procurement plan do not appear to be realistic. “Fiscal constraints and technological barriers would likely delay several programs,” the analyst said.
One emphasis on the 2020 procurement program appears to be in indigenous air defense systems. SSB plans to launch firing tests for the Hisar-O, a medium-range defense system developed by Aselsan, Turkey’s biggest defense company, and Roketsan, a missile maker. Both companies are controlled by the government.
On Feb. 5, Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdoğan said that the Hisar-A, the low-range version of the Hisar-O, would be deployed along Turkey’s border with Syria where various rebel groups and the Syria government are battling.
The Turkish military is also expected to receive the Korkut low-altitude air defense system. Meanwhile, firing tests will be launched for portable air defense systems. Other planned 2020 deliveries include scores of smart ammunition and rockets. (Source: Defense News)
17 Feb 20. Defence in a new decade: NATO prepares for new threats. As NATO enters a new decade of existence, the 70-year-old alliance has begun to address the fact that the face of war has changed significantly. Harry Lye heard from NATO leaders and think-tankers how NATO is adapting to meet new threats and challenges.
“Today we face new challenges, and in keeping with our best traditions we must continue to adapt,” UK defence secretary Ben Wallace warned the crowd gathered for NATO Engages in London in December.
“Traditional warfare has changed,” he continued. “The threats are no longer only conventional. No longer only overt. Our adversaries are striking from the shadows. They are pursuing new tactics to divide and destabilise. Exploiting new technologies to exacerbate the uncertainties of an uncertain world, and undermine our way of life.”
The alliance that has stood the test of 70 years, including the Cold War, the fall of the Berlin Wall, and more recently the war of terror, Wallace said, must stand ready not just to combat static warfare, but the proliferation of conflict to the new domains space and cyber, or in the shadows of disinformation, assassination in a world where the rules of war have never been so grey.
“Our Allies in the Baltic and our partners in Ukraine and Georgia are only too familiar with such tactics,” he added. “But this is happening right across our alliance. It is happening here in Britain.
“Before taking up this post I was the UK’s Security Minister for over three years. I got to see into the shadows and see the daily attacks on our societies that many do not. Cyberattacks, disinformation, assassination, corruption. All prosecuted on our open and liberal societies.”
This is all part of a sea change in conflict, its definition, its adversaries, and tactics. So what, specifically, are the new threats NATO is adapting to?
The rise of China and the hypersonic menace
“NATO is now looking at the ways in which new and emerging technologies will continue to change the threat landscape, from hypersonic missiles to reducing our decision-making time in the face of an attack.” Wallace said.
This was echoed by the Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg as he discussed the rise of China, after NATO mentioned the country for the first time in an official declaration. After NATO’s December summit in Watford near London, Stoltenberg said: “A few weeks ago, they [China] displayed a new intercontinental ballistic missile, able to reach Europe and North America. They displayed hypersonic missiles, gliders. They have deployed hundreds of intermediate- range missiles that would have been violating the INF Treaty if China had been part of the INF Treaty.”
China’s Dongfeng-17 hypersonic missile, a prominent feature in China’s 2019 National Day parade, threatens to upset the balance of power in China’s backyard and is one of the earliest such systems to reach initial operation capacity. The missiles travel so fast they are hard to intercept, changing the game for air defence.
NATO’s approach to China, however, is not about creating a new foe in a new region. Instead, it aims to monitor the country more closely and work towards arms control agreements. As Stoltenberg said at the NATO Engages event the day before the summit, “this is not about moving NATO into the South China Sea, but it’s about taking into account that China’s coming closer to us.”
The idea that China is moving closer to the West is echoed by Robert Vass, founder and president of the Globsec think tank, who told us: “Chinese investments are quite heavy in Europe and are increasing, they are building the Belt and Road initiative, and it is an economic but also political project, which is bringing the political influence of China to Europe. We have to be aware of that. I’m not saying it is good or bad, but we have to be very much aware of the leverage that has.”
Vass added: “Now, we don’t want to create Chinese walls between our two worlds. It’s not a good answer.” He explained that it is important to avoid a confrontation with China, although ongoing trade wars could complicate that.
The US has long challenged NATO allies’ use of Chinese infrastructure and European nations have long been willing to accept Chinese investment, while decrying the same in other continents. Now, however, the alliance seems to have come to a united approach.
Stoltenberg said: “For the first time, we addressed the rise of China – both the challenges and the opportunities it poses, and the implications for our security. Leaders agreed we need to address this together as an alliance.”
The “together” is the crux of argument. Wallace, although not specifically on the topic of China, also pointed out in his speech that a united response to emerging threats is vital: “We must stand together; no side deals, no separate voices. Our adversaries strive for that division, they fund that division, and target that division. We will not let them succeed.”
Cyber, space and the hyper war
Space and cyber are other areas NATO is shifting its focus to. Agreed at the NATO summit in December, section six of the London Declaration reads: “We have declared space an operational domain for NATO, recognising its importance in keeping us safe and tackling security challenges, while upholding international law.”
On the topic of cyberspace the declaration adds: “We are increasing our tools to respond to cyberattacks, and strengthening our ability to prepare for, deter, and defend against hybrid tactics that seek to undermine our security and societies.”
With this addition, NATO acknowledges that conflict is expanding into new domains. In the 21st century a regional conflict can quickly progress above the atmosphere and through cyberspace, affecting everything from homes to government infrastructure and military installations.
Vass described this as ‘hyper war’, where conflict becomes a melting pot of traditional and emerging domains. He said: “We are moving from a traditional domain to cybersecurity and disinformation, and even I would say ‘hyper war’, which is a combination of traditional means with cyber, disinformation. The scale and the levels of domains that this is impacting will be just mind-blowing.”
Wallace, who in his speech described the Gerasimov doctrine [which suggests combining military, technological, information, diplomatic, economic, cultural and other tactics for the purpose of achieving strategic goals], echoed Vass’ notion of hyper war, saying: “With social media, cyber and more open societies giving our competitors unparalleled opportunities to achieve their aims, the Gerasimov doctrine is here to stay. And hybrid warfare is our new reality. It is constant, and challenging to all our aims.”
Bringing cyber and space into the same vein as land, air and sea is a move that will help NATO build resilience to new threats that lay in the grey zones of conflict, allowing the alliance to more aggressively build its defensive footing. With this, NATO will take a three-pronged approach.
Across the alliance arguments and threats about spending have resulted in European and Canadian allies putting an extra $400bn into defence by 2024, more than double of what China is estimated to spend on defence annually by the International Institute for Strategic Studies.
This investment is coupled with an alliance-wide push for innovation, as Stoltenberg explained. “So we [NATO] also agreed, for instance, that we should invest more in research and development,” he said. “We had this 20% pledge, [meaning] that 20% of the defence budget should be allocated for research, development and investments in new capabilities.”
NATO has faced challenges in the past and has a proven track-record of adapting to them. It will need to continue doing so as new threats emerge to maintain the peace in a new decade. (Source: army-technology.com)
17 Feb 20. Airbus case shows France’s new-found anti-corruption drive. Paris prosecutors seize on recent law to win record settlement from aircraft maker. Airbus’s record settlement handed €2.1bn to France, almost €1bn to the UK and about €530m to the US. France long had a reputation for being lax on global corruption and outsourcing its juiciest cases to US prosecutors — Airbus’s record €3.6bn settlement in an international bribery probe shows this era may be over. Paris prosecutors took the driving seat in the international investigation armed with a new set of anti-corruption laws introduced in 2016. Last month, the Toulouse-based aircraft maker signed the historic three-way agreement with French, UK and US prosecutors to draw a line under more than a decade of corruption involving bribes, fraudulent contracts and fake invoices that boosted the company’s profits by up to €1bn over the course of its wrongdoing. The final sum — revealed after simultaneous court cases in all three countries — handed €2.1bn to France, almost €1bn to the UK and about €530m to the US. The anti-bribery laws introduced under socialist president François Hollande “have changed everything in France and the (financial prosecutor) has demonstrated that it’s a real player on the international scene”, said one lawyer involved in the case. The law, dubbed Sapin II, was meant to “lift France to the best European and international standards”, then finance minister Michel Sapin said when parliament passed it in 2016.
The legislation introduced US-style plea bargains and took inspiration from the UK’s deferred prosecution regime, which allows companies that confess to wrongdoing the chance to avoid criminal conviction in return for an agreement to mend their ways and pay an often hefty fine. Mirroring the UK’s bribery act passed in 2014, it introduced criminal penalties for large companies that failed to prevent corruption. It also demanded businesses write codes of conduct and set up whistleblowing procedures. Before the Sapin legislation, France had never convicted a company of corruption, leading to what Transparency International called an “unacceptable state of near impunity in the last 15 years”. Paris had also been criticised by the OECD. Meanwhile, the US Department of Justice (DOJ) was punishing French groups using its extraterritorial powers: Telecoms company Alcatel-Lucent was fined $137m in 2010. Oil company Total was required to pay $398m in 2013 to the DOJ and Securities and Exchange Commission and train company Alstom was fined $772m in 2014 for corruption. “France had almost no record when it came to corruption cases,” said Daniel Kadar, co-managing partner of law firm Reed Smith’s Paris office. Airbus “were a political response from the French” to US extraterritorial powers, said another City lawyer. “There was a sense that France had to be able to deal with its own corporates or that would continue to happen.”
France joined the probe in 2017, a year after Britain’s Serious Fraud Office opened its investigation into discrepancies in disclosures about third-party consultants. The possibility of a plea deal in the UK, US and France meant that Airbus had an incentive to co-operate with regulators to avoid a criminal conviction. The company’s general counsel John Harrison set up a “virtual law firm”, with lawyers in each country. The team unearthed and handed over some 30.7m documents to investigators, which in turn formed the only pieces of evidence in the case. Lawyers involved in the probe said there had been a new degree of co-operation between global prosecutors. For French prosecutors, who were less used to companies conducting in-depth investigations into wrongdoing in order to seal a plea deal, it was an eye-opener. “We all understood — and advocated strongly with our respective authorities — that there was a universe of issues that the authorities needed to sort out among themselves, and not send external counsel scurrying back and forth like children of divorced parents,” said Robert Luskin, partner at Paul Hastings and one of the advisers to the French state. The level of co-operation was not the only unusual aspect of the probe. It was also the first such case to be conducted entirely using machine learning technology. Predictive coding software technology sifted the millions of emails, contracts, invoices and other documents in order to dig up the strongest evidence of wrongdoing and speed up the investigation. The SFO was versed in the use of the technology: in 2017 it had turned to East-London AI start-up Ravn for help on its bribery case into engine maker Rolls-Royce. French prosecutors, who had never used “technology assisted review” before, were nervous that important documents might be missed.
In Easter 2017 Dechert lawyers, who advised Airbus in the UK, travelled to Paris to persuade the Paris investigators to embrace the tool. The use of code names employed by Airbus executives to cover up discussion of illicit payments made human scanning also important. Airbus directors and business partners peppered emails with references to medicine, dosages and famous art, according to the SFO. One senior executive at TNA, a Taiwanese airline implicated in the fraud, was given the alias “Van Gogh” and emails referred to the sale of his paintings. Emails seen by the SFO referenced “medications and dosages” — code for some $430,000 in illicit rewards funnelled towards the TNA executive, “prescribed by Dr Brown”, code name for a senior Airbus employee. Campaigners and lawyers said France’s role in the Airbus settlement signalled a new phase for the country on the global stage, but said the next test would be whether France could convict individuals guilty of wrongdoing. Another test is whether they will weigh on companies to use the whistleblowing procedure or confess to prosecutors first, as is more frequent in the UK and the US. The Sapin legislation “is an efficient tool” facilitating international co-operation, said Marc-André Feffer, chair of Transparency International France. “However, we regret that no company has ever spontaneously come forward to denounce their illicit wrongdoing to French authorities. We will remain on the lookout.” (Source: FT.com)
12 Feb 20. Berlin to limit sensitive military tenders to German firms. Angela Merkel’s government said on Wednesday it would restrict tenders for the procurement of sensitive weapon systems to German companies, a protectionist measure by a chancellor who has come out strongly against such barriers. In a strategy paper that takes effect immediately, the government said it would extend the remit of existing rules to include naval vessels and electronic warfare technologies.
Until now, the government had only limited tenders for submarines to German defense companies. The expanded strategy is partly designed to make the local defense sector more competitive.
The draft stipulates that, if German defense contractors fail to meet the requirements of the German armed forces, tenders will be opened to rivals from the European Union.
“We want to sustain and support the development of core defense capabilities that are of strategic relevance in German as well as in the EU,” said Economy Minister Peter Altmaier.
On Tuesday, lawmakers from German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s ruling conservatives backed a proposal to restrict foreign vendors of 5G mobile network technology, sources said, to address the concerns of critics who see the market leader, China’s Huawei, as a threat to national security.
Under pressure from U.S. President Donald Trump, Germany plans to reach a defense spending allocation agreed by the NATO military alliance belatedly in 2031, missing a 2024 target.
NATO leaders agreed in 2014, after Russia’s annexation of Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula, to spend the equivalent of 2% of their economic output on defense by 2024.
Only seven NATO countries currently meet or exceed that target – the United States, Britain, Greece, Poland and the three Baltic states – Latvia, Lithuania and Estonia.
The German army is set to issue a tender for two tank ships, which under the new rules would be built by German shipyards. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
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