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08 Oct 20. Turkey’s armed drones bolster Erdogan’s hard-power tactics. Nagorno-Karabakh is latest overseas conflict where Turkish-produced weapons have been deployed. As a decades-old conflict has reignited in the mountains of Nagorno-Karabakh, Azerbaijani forces battling with Armenia to capture disputed territory have unveiled a new tool in their armoury. Azerbaijan’s military has published slick footage of Turkish-made armed drones blitzing scores of Armenian positions, striking air defence systems, artillery units and tanks. Nagorno-Karabakh is the fifth foreign conflict zone where Turkish drones have been deployed in recent years, with the country’s unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) also taking to the skies in Syria, Libya, northern Iraq and the eastern Mediterranean, where Turkey and Greece are at loggerheads over maritime rights. The expanding Turkish drone industry is the culmination of a two-decade drive to boost defence production with the aim of reducing Turkey’s reliance on western arms purchases and stoking national pride. While some efforts, such as a plan to produce a fighter jet, are seen by many analysts as overambitious, the UAV programme has made Turkey an emerging drone power. “Turkey is not overtaking the US, Israel or China but I’d say that Turkey is emerging as a significant competitor to all three countries,” said Dan Gettinger, an analyst at the Mitchell Institute for Aerospace Studies, a US-based research institute. Military force has become a really key element of Turkish foreign policy Rob Lee, researcher at King’s College London The development of Turkish-made armed drones marries perfectly with the more aggressive foreign policy stance adopted by Recep Tayyip Erdogan in recent years, with the Turkish president increasingly willing to deploy hard power in support of his international aims. “Military force has become a really key element of Turkish foreign policy,” said Rob Lee, a former US marine and military researcher based at King’s College London. Armed drones, he said, offered Ankara “a lower threshold way of getting involved in conflicts”. It is not clear whether the TB2 drones that analysts say have been deployed in Nagorno-Karabakh are owned and operated by Azerbaijan’s military or by their Turkish counterparts. Their manufacturer, the Turkish military and Turkey’s defence industries directorate all declined to comment. Surveillance footage of an Armenian artillery unit reportedly filmed from a Turkish-made drone © Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence An apparent strike on the same unit by the TB2 drone © Azerbaijan Ministry of Defence Either way, Carey Cavanaugh, a former US ambassador and chief US negotiator for the conflict, said that the use of drones by both parties in the disputed Caucasus region had radically altered the scale of the fighting and the potential death toll, allowing them to hit targets previously restricted by the mountainous terrain and use of trench warfare. Ankara hopes that the high-profile use of its technology will boost the country’s defence exports. Turkey’s foreign defence sales still pale in comparison with those of the US, which earned $56bn from arms exports in 2018, or Russia, which earned $13.7bn the same year. The country sold $3bn worth of equipment to other nations last year — mostly tanks and armoured vehicles, aircraft parts, and guns and ammunition, according to a defence official. But that is up from $248m in 2002. Officials hope to reach $10bn in 2023. Turkey’s efforts to create its own drones are closely linked to the long-running fight with the Kurdistan Workers party (PKK), a Kurdish armed militia that has been battling the Turkish state since 1984. The resurgence of the conflict and problems in procuring and operating UAVs from foreign states spurred a fresh push by Turkey’s defence industries directorate in the early 2000s to make drones its “highest priority”, according to Arda Mevlutoglu, an Ankara-based defence analyst. He added: “We are now just getting the results.” One of the leading manufacturers is state-owned Turkish Aerospace Industries, whose Anka-S armed drone took part in a Turkish campaign against the Russian-backed Syrian regime earlier this year. But a large part of the fleet used by the Turkish military in Syria — as well as the drones deployed in Libya and in Nagorno-Karabakh — is the brainchild of Selcuk Bayraktar, an aerospace engineer who in 2016 married Mr Erdogan’s daughter Sumeyye. Cars display Turkish and Azerbaijani flags during a rally in Istanbul held to show solidarity with Azerbaijan in its conflict with Armenia © Yasin Akgul/AFP/Getty Haluk Bayraktar has hit back at critics of his family’s drone-manufacturing business, Baykar, the company behind Turkey’s TB2 drones © Laura Pitel/FT In a rare interview in February, Mr Bayraktar’s brother Haluk pushed back against claims that the decades-old family business, Baykar, had received favourable treatment thanks to its newfound presidential connections, dismissing such accusations as “dirty politics”. Mr Bayraktar, who is the company’s chief executive as well as chairman of Saha Istanbul — an aerospace cluster representing more than 400 producers — attributed the Baykar’s success to his family’s vision and hard work. Baykar sold its first batch of drones — a small surveillance model — to the armed forces in 2007 after winning a design competition. Two years later, it won a tender to produce and sell an armed UAV, the Bayraktar TB2. Recommended David Gardner Erdogan is in danger of overreaching with foreign interventions Since 2017, an armed variant has been extensively used against the PKK. “Drones have enabled them to drive the PKK out of mountainous pockets where they had established a significant presence for more than 30 years,” said Nigar Goksel, the Turkey director of International Crisis Group, a conflict prevention organisation. Their use has been heavily criticised by human rights campaigners, who say that civilians have been killed in UAV strikes. The industry has also stoked international controversy, a potential problem for producers such as Baykar, which imports 7 per cent of the components used for the TB2. On Monday, the Canadian government announced that it was suspending exports of some imaging equipment to Turkey, a Nato ally, after critics raised questions about the use of the technology in Nagorno-Karabakh. Turkey’s drones are not infallible. In Libya, Baykar’s TB2s have suffered from a “high attrition rate”, according to a UN report published in December. Yet even battlefield setbacks are valuable to Turkish producers. “When we think about military innovation, experience is one of the most important factors,” said Caglar Kurc, an adjunct instructor in the department of international relations at Ankara’s Bilkent University. “Turkey has wracked up significant experience that will reflect on future development.” (Source: defense-aerospace.com/FT)
10 Oct 20. The Military division of the Queen’s Birthday Honours List 2020. Defence personnel have been granted state honours by Her Majesty the Queen in the annual Birthday Honours List.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Congratulations to our remarkable Armed Forces personnel who have been granted state honours by Her Majesty the Queen in the Birthday Honours List. Our service men and women have done our nation proud by standing ready to protect Britain from all threats, including Covid-19. I’m grateful for their commitment and dedication, and it is great to see it recognised today.”
Royal Navy Awards
Promotions in an appointments to the military division of the most honourable order of the bath.
As Knight Commander
Admiral Timothy Peter FRASER, CB
Rear Admiral James Norman MACLEOD
Rear Admiral Michael Keith UTLEY, OBE
Promotions in and appointments to the military division of the most excellent order of the British Empire.
Commodore James Miles Benjamin PARKIN
Commodore James Le Seelleur PERKS, OBE
Commodore Robert James ANSTEY
Commodore Paul Christopher CARROLL
Lieutenant Colonel (Acting Colonel) Michael Andrew GELDARD
Surgeon Commander Sam David HUTCHINGS
Captain Kevin Massie NOAKES
Colour Sergeant Michael Scott BEATON
Captain Thomas Andrew John BUCK
Major (now Lieutenant Colonel) David William Digby CLARKE
Leading Logistician (Writer) Rebecca Leone FYANS
Leading Engineering Technician (Acting Petty Officer Engineering Technician) (Weapon Engineering Submarines) Andrew HEY
Lieutenant Ian MCINNES
Chief Petty Officer Communications Technician Michael MCLACHLAN
Lieutenant Commander Joel ROBERTS
Colour Sergeant Ryan SELBIE
Warrant Officer 1 Warfare Specialist (Abovewater Warfare Weapons) Darren Andrew WEARING, D231040K
Lieutenant Commander Royal Naval Reserve (Sea Cadet Corps) Michelle WELSH
Major David John WEST
Lieutenant Commander Louise Frances Victoria WOOLLER
Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal
Colour Sergeant Royal Marines Reserve David HILL
Promotions in and appointments to the military division of the most honourable order of the bath.
The Venerable Clinton Matthew LANGSTON, QHC
Major General Gerald Ian MITCHELL, MBE
Brigadier Christopher Matthew Balmer COLES
Colonel Charles Richard Patrick GINN
Colonel Andrew Nicholas SZABO
Brigadier Neil Bryan THORPE, OBE
Brigadier William Stewart Codrington WRIGHT, OBE
Lieutenant Colonel Hugh Ashley Philip AMOS, Intelligence Corps
Lieutenant Colonel Peter William Stanhope BAINES, MBE, The Rifles
Lieutenant Colonel Debra Jane BLACKMAN, Intelligence Corps
Lieutenant Colonel Timothy John BRENT, Corps of Royal Engineers, Army Reserve
Lieutenant Colonel Alexander Vaughan COOPER, MBE, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Lieutenant Colonel Alex Richard FORSYTH, The Royal Regiment of Scotland
Colonel Ian Paul GIBSON
Lieutenant Colonel John HARVEY, Adjutant General’s Corps (Royal Military Police)
Lieutenant Colonel Simon Thomas HORNE, Royal Army Medical Corps
Lieutenant Colonel Christopher David Damien O’HALLORAN, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Lieutenant Colonel Robert Balfour POOLE, Royal Army Medical Corps
Acting Colonel Clinton Mark RILEY, Army Cadet Force
Lieutenant Colonel James Samuel SKELTON, MBE, The Princess of Wales’s Royal Regiment
Major Emma Jane ALLEN, Royal Corps of Signals
Major Stuart David WEIR-ANSELL, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Major Louise BATES, Adjutant General’s Corps (Educational and Training Services Branch), Army Reserve
Corporal Thomas Ashley BATES, Intelligence Corps
Warrant Officer Class 1 Adam Thomas BIENIASZ, Intelligence Corps
Major Victor Eric BLEAKLEY, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Lieutenant Colonel Alistair John BRYANT, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Captain Kevin Philip CARTER, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Major Christopher Furness COLES, Corps of Royal Engineers
Sergeant Mark Stephen CONWAY, VR, Corps of Royal Engineers, Army Reserve
Staff Sergeant Christopher Thomas DENMAN, Royal Corps of Signals
Major Spencer Frederick ELLIOTT, Adjutant General’s Corps (Army Legal Services Branch)
Major Benjamin Alistair FOSTER, Corps of Royal Engineers
Major Richard Phillip GRIMSDELL, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Acting Warrant Officer Class 2 John Robert HARPER, Adjutant General’s Corps (Staff and Personnel Support Branch)
Corporal David Thomas HEMMINGS, The Royal Anglian Regiment
Captain Steven Walter HENRY, The Royal Logistic Corps
Warrant Officer Class 1 James Christopher HOBDEN, The Royal Logistic Corps
Major Antony Edward IRELAND, The Royal Logistic Corps
Major Gary Stuart JACKSON, Corps of Royal Engineers
Major Antony William JOHNSON, Royal Regiment of Artillery, Army Reserve
Major Arianne May KIDD, The Royal Logistic Corps
Major Adam Paul KURZEJA, Corps of Royal Engineers
Major Andrew McDERMOTT, Royal Regiment of Artillery
Acting Lieutenant Colonel Philip Charles Edgar MILEHAM, Royal Regiment of Artillery, Army Reserve
Major Robert Leasing John MONGER, Corps of Royal Engineers
Acting Major Ebrahim Ahmed MUKHTAR, Corps of Royal Engineers, Army Reserve
Lieutenant Colonel Richard Kitioni NAIVALURUA, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers
Corporal Joseph William NEVITT, Army Air Corps
Warrant Officer Class 1 Kelly Louise NEWBOUND, The Royal Logistic Corps
Acting Sergeant Matthew Kevin PAGET, Intelligence Corps
Warrant Officer Class 1 Simon William PATRICK, The Yorkshire Regiment
Lieutenant Colonel James Lee PEARCE, The Yorkshire Regiment
Major Michael Jonathan PIMM, Army Air Corps
Lieutenant Colonel Anthony Wayne PLEDGER, The Yorkshire Regiment
Major Colin PRENTICE, Corps of Royal Engineers, Army Reserve
Sergeant Ian Robert PRING, VR, The Parachute Regiment, Army Reserve
Major Gemma Elizabeth STONEBRIDGE-SMITH, Adjutant General’s Corps (Educational and Training Services Branch)
Major Andrew John TIERNAN, Grenadier Guards
Lieutenant Colonel Adam Conrad TURPIN, The Royal Scots Dragoon Guards
Major Nicholas Adam VYE, The Royal Lancers (Queen Elizabeths’ Own)
Captain Harry Andrew WALTER, Intelligence Corps
Major Alistair James WOOD, Combined Cadet Force
Royal Red Cross
As an Ordinary Associate of the Royal Red Cross, Second Class
Sergeant Siobhan Irene DAVIS, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps
Major Johan Marie DEWS, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps
Warrant Officer Class 1 Richard John LAZARUS, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps
Staff Sergeant Helen MARSHALL, Queen Alexandra’s Royal Army Nursing Corps
Queen’s Volunteer Reserves Medal
Captain Hisham Bahjat HALAWI, VR, General List, Army Reserve
Colonel Robert Stuart Thomas MURPHY, TD, VR, Army Reserve
Colonel Mark Andrew SIMPSON, TD, VR, Army Reserve
Major David Arthur TITHERIDGE, TD, VR, Royal Corps of Signals, Army Reserve
Lieutenant Colonel Llewelyn Tremayne WILLIAMS, TD, VR, Corps of Royal Electrical and Mechanical Engineers, Army Reserve
Royal Air Force awards
Promotions in and appointments to the military division of the most honourable order of the bath.
As Knight Grand Cross
Air Chief Marshal Sir Stephen John HILLIER, KCB, CBE, DFC
As Knight Commander
Air Chief Marshal Michael WIGSTON, CBE
Air Vice-Marshal Christina Reid ELLIOT, CBE
Air Vice-Marshal Harvey SMYTH, OBE, DFC
Promotions in and appointments to the military division of the most excellent order of the British Empire.
Air Commodore Paul Harron LLOYD
Air Vice-Marshal Christopher John MOORE
Air Commodore Suzanne Natalie PERKINS
Group Captain Daniel Joseph STARTUP
Air Commodore Ian Jon TOWNSEND
Group Captain Chantal Emma BAKER
Wing Commander (now Group Captain) John Ronald BUTCHER
Group Captain Mason Clark FENLON
Wing Commander Nicholas Donald Charles GREEN
Group Captain Sonia Margaret PHYTHIAN, ARRC
Group Captain Ian James SHARROCKS
Squadron Leader (Now Wing Commander) Benjamin Robert ALCOCK
Warrant Officer Sara Elizabeth CATTERALL
Wing Commander Neville James CLAYTON
Corporal Gary James CROOT
Squadron Leader (now Wing Commander) Sian ENGLISH
Squadron Leader Mark Dayan FAULDS
Wing Commander Benedict Rufus Griffith GOODWIN
Flight Lieutenant Adrian Karl HARGREAVES
Senior Aircraftman (now Acting Corporal) Lucy Anne HART
Flight Sergeant Alexander LILLEY
Squadron Leader Simon Nicolas MOORE
Squadron Leader David William MULVANEY
Squadron Leader Jonathan PALMER
Corporal Victoria Ann PENTON
Warrant Officer Morgan Russell PRICE
Squadron Leader Sharon Michelle STOWERS
Squadron Leader Michael Thomas SYMONS
Squadron Leader Alyn George Frederick THOMPSON
Sergeant Mark Anthony WILMAN
Royal Red Cross
As an Ordinary Associate of the Royal Red Cross, Second Class
Flight Lieutenant Jacqueline MCKINNON
09 Oct 20. NATO chief seeks technology gains in alliance reform push. As NATO officials hash out reform proposals aimed at reinvigorating the alliance, there will be a dedicated push to enhance military technology development among member states, Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg announced this week.
“As part of NATO 2030, I intend to put further proposals on the table to maintain our technological edge, to develop common principles and standards for new technologies, and to enhance cooperation between allies in areas like joint research and development,” Stoltenberg said during a speech at the Globsec think tank’s Bratislava Forum event.
The NATO 2030 drill encompasses various strands of analyses by experts inside and outside the alliance command structure. The reform push goes back to a resolution from the 2019 London summit, which tasked the Norwegian prime minister at the time to lead a “reflection process” that would incorporate new threats like cyberwar, the rise of China, Russian saber-rattling, climate change and terrorism.
Over the summer, Stoltenberg unveiled a new political tack emanating from the NATO 2030 study, postulating that the alliance would strive to increase its global reach, including in the Indo-Pacific.
“Military strength is only part of the answer,” Stoltenberg said in a June speech. “We also need to use NATO more politically.”
He reiterated that objective this week, saying the alliance would seek deeper ties with “like-minded” nations outside of NATO.
Resilience is another key prong of the reform agenda, and Stoltenberg previewed a new push for member states to shore up their defenses against potentially hostile forces seeking to undermine the alliance through the back door. Such measures could come in the form of a common monitoring regime for keeping foreign investors from snapping up “critical infrastructure, companies and technologies,” Stoltenberg said.
“And we should agree common principles and whether to export technologies that we rely on for our security,” he added.
Also on the docket in the course of the reform process is a new strategic concept that would replace the existing version dating from 2010, Stoltenberg announced. (Source: Defense News)
09 Oct 20. U.S. approves possible sale of fighter jets, missiles to Finland. The U.S. State Department has approved the potential sale of U.S.-made fighter jets and precision guided munitions to Finland as the country modernizes its military, the Pentagon said on Friday.
Several jet makers are competing to replace Finland’s retiring Boeing Co F/A-18s and enhance its air-to-air and air-to-ground self-defense capability.
In a move that would ease the way for the export of the U.S. jets, the State Department approved the potential sale of 64 F-35A spare parts, munitions and training for an estimated $12.5bn. The F-35 is made by Lockheed Martin Co.
The State Department also approved the potential sale of three types of Boeing-made fighter jets including 50 F/A-18E Super Hornets, eight F/A-18F Super Hornets and 14 EA-18G Growler jets plus spare parts, munitions and training for an estimated $14.7bn.
The notification alerts the U.S. Congress that a sale to a foreign country has been approved, but does not indicate that a contract has been signed or negotiations have concluded.
The Pentagon’s Defense Security Cooperation Agency notified Congress of the possible sale.
Finland, which shares a 1,340-km (833-mile) border with Russia, has compulsory military service for all men and is one of six European Union members that have not also joined the North Atlantic Treaty Organization. (Source: Reuters)
09 Oct 20. UK parliament committee says Huawei colludes with the Chinese state. The British parliament’s defence committee said on Thursday that it had found clear evidence that telecoms giant Huawei had colluded with the Chinese state and said Britain may need to remove all Huawei equipment earlier than planned.
British Prime Minister Boris Johnson in July ordered Huawei equipment to be purged from the nascent 5G network by the end of 2027. U.S. President Donald Trump claimed credit for the British decision.
“The West must urgently unite to advance a counterweight to China’s tech dominance,” Tobias Ellwood, chairman of the defence committee, said. “We must not surrender our national security for the sake of short-term technological development.”
The committee did not go into detail about the exact nature of the ties but said it had seen clear evidence of Huawei collusion with “the Chinese Communist Party apparatus”.
Huawei said the report lacked credibility.
“It is built on opinion rather than fact. We’re sure people will see through these groundless accusations of collusion and remember instead what Huawei has delivered for Britain over the past 20 years,” a Huawei spokesman said.
When asked about the committee’s comments, Chinese foreign ministry spokeswoman Hua Chunying said that some in the UK should think before they speak, and that the legitimate interests of Chinese companies were being damaged.
“The openness and fairness of the UK market, as well as the security of foreign investments there, is highly concerning,” she said, speaking at a daily news conference in Beijing on Friday.
Trump identifies China as the United States’ main geopolitical rival, and has accused the Communist Party-ruled state of taking advantage over trade and not telling the truth over the novel coronavirus outbreak, which he calls the “China plague”.
Washington and its allies say Huawei technology could be used to spy for China. Huawei has repeatedly denied this, and says the United States is simply jealous of its success.
British ministers say the rise to global dominance of Huawei, founded in 1987 by a former People’s Liberation Army engineer, has caught the West off guard.
The defence committee said it supported Johnson’s decision to eventually purge Huawei from Britain’s 5G network but noted that “developments could necessitate this date being moved forward, potentially to 2025” to be economically feasible. (Source: Reuters)
08 Oct 20. U.S., Romania Chart 10-Year Road Map for Military Cooperation. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper welcomed Romanian Defense Minister Nicolae Ciuca to the Pentagon today with an enhanced honor cordon.
The two defense leaders signed a 10-year road map for defense cooperation that captures the nations’ common strategic goals and shared interests, such as defense modernization and Black Sea-area security.
The United States is proud to stand with Romania as a steadfast ally, Esper said. Over the years, the bonds between the two nations have grown stronger.
For example, Romania has hosted a number of training exercises that improve interoperability and strengthen deterrence against Russia along NATO’s eastern flank, he said.
The U.S. is also grateful for the strong commitment of the alliance, particularly in hosting the Aegis Ashore missile defense facility that is key to NATO’s defense, the secretary said.
Furthermore, Romania increased defense spending in recent years to exceed the pledged 2% of its gross domestic product. That serves as a powerful example to other allied nations, he added.
“Our collective security and prosperity depend on all partner nations making the necessary investments for a more ready and capable alliance,” Esper said.
America’s commitment to NATO and Article 5 is “ironclad and America stands shoulder-to-shoulder with Romania as we advance peace, democracy, freedom and our other shared values,” he said.
Article 5 states that if a NATO ally is attacked, every other member of the alliance will consider this as an attack against all members and will take the actions it deems necessary to assist the ally attacked.
Ciuca said: “The United States is our strongest ally. Romania’s recent National Defense Strategy 2020-2024 highlights both the importance and the priority of working together in securing U.S. strategic flexibility in the Black Sea.”
Romania is investing in modernizing Mihail Kogalniceanu Air Base, which is near the Black Sea, he pointed out.
Ciuca noted that two weeks ago, Romania took delivery of the Patriot surface-to-air missile system, becoming the first nation on NATO’s eastern flank to field it. (Source: US DoD)
08 Oct 20. Measures to eliminate international terrorism. United Kingdom statement at the UN General Assembly Sixth Committee.
At the outset, let me congratulate you and members of the Bureau on your election.
This has been an extraordinary year and I would like to recognise the considerable efforts made to ensure we can continue our consideration of critical issues.
The United Kingdom wishes to underscore five additional points.
First, we are gathered under the shadow of COVID 19 and its impact on almost everything. While it is still early to know the long-term effects on terrorism, with more people at home in front of computers – especially young people – we are concerned about terrorist use of the internet to mobilise and recruit support and perpetuate their dangerous narratives.
The drivers of terrorism and extremism are multifaceted and complex. In our long-term efforts to reduce the threat of terrorism, however, we need to ensure that good governance, rule of law and programmes on poverty reduction are maintained to allow healthy, prosperous societies to flourish.
Second, terrorists and violent extremists have continued to adapt their outreach and methods. While Daesh may have lost territorial control, it continues to perpetuate its ideology and objectives through its network and affiliates, and Al-Qaida remains a persistent threat. However, terrorist attacks continue to be motivated by a range of ideologies, and the rise of right wing extremism and terrorism confirms that terrorists have no single identity, religion or nationality. We encourage all states to join the Open Briefing organised by CTED on behalf of the CTC, on 9 October and contribute to the discussions on this important topic.
Third, civil society and humanitarian actors continue to provide critical assistance in some of the most complex conflict zones and under tremendously difficult conditions due to Covid. We welcomed the increased focus on the protection of principled humanitarian action in the Security Council’s counterterrorism resolutions last year. We look forward to continuing to work with all relevant partners to ensure that counterterrorism measures are implemented in accordance with international law, while also upholding counterterrorism obligations set out by the Security Council.
Fourth, the frameworks set out by the Security Council and the General Assembly consistently stress the importance of human rights to preventing and countering terrorism and violent extremism. The United Kingdom continues to stress that human rights and effective counterterrorism are not mutually exclusive but rather that integrating human rights and gender considerations throughout the full spectrum of counterterrorism activity is essential for credible, sustainable and effective responses. We have seen that gross violations of human rights can play a role in creating an enabling environment for the development of grievances and conditions that can fuel terrorism.
The United Kingdom reiterates the importance also of integrating gender throughout the full spectrum of counterterrorism efforts. On this historic anniversary of the WPS agenda, it is critical to ensure that we challenge old stereotypes and recognise that for responses to be right, we need to ensure the meaningful participation of women in all stages of counterterrorism, from planning to implementation and evaluation.
A year ago this week, the Security Council Counter-Terrorism Executive Directorate (CTED) conducted its second assessment visit to the United Kingdom, which included robust and comprehensive discussions on all aspects of counterterrorism and PVE. We are hoping to soon see the finalised report. We proactively invited this follow-up visit because we wanted to share our lessons-learned, good practices and experiences, as well as identifying emerging trends and dynamics. No country can fight terrorism alone and we welcome opportunities to learn from others and collectively improve our responses. We encourage other states to work with CTED and use the assessment visits to share their counterterrorism experiences and identify their CT priorities and needs. The recommendations in the report should form the basis for support provided by the UN system, as these recommendations are approved by the visited state, developed by specialised CT experts and in line with all their counterterrorism obligations.
Fifth, the global mission to raise aviation security standards must continue in line with the landmark Security Council Resolution 2309 to ensure a shared global understanding of the current threat to aviation where all Member States fully meet their aviation security obligations and move towards the implementation of the Global Aviation Security Plan. We are pleased that the Counter-Terrorism Committee will hold an Open Briefing on this topic later this year. We encourage Member States to share their experiences and good practices in implementing Security Council resolution 2309.
In conclusion, now, more than ever, we must collectively ensure that terrorists and violent extremists cannot exploit this pandemic to perpetrate their horrific attacks, and further exacerbate the suffering of communities at this time. The United Kingdom will continue to work with Spain and Egypt, Member State partners, the UN, and civil society, as we look to the review of the UN Global Counterterrorism Strategy next year. The threat landscape is continually evolving and we must ensure that we are collectively prepared and that our institutions and our tools are fit for purpose. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
08 Oct 20. U.S. senators urge sanctions on Turkey over Russian missile system. A Republican and a Democratic U.S. senator called on Wednesday for President Donald Trump’s administration to impose sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of Russia’s S-400 anti-aircraft system, after a report that Turkey may be planning a comprehensive test.
Republican James Lankford and Democrat Chris Van Hollen wrote to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo asking about the report and saying that Washington’s failure to act more decisively about the S-400 purchase had “emboldened” Turkey’s government.
Turkey bought a batch of the missile systems from Russia last year, leading to its suspension by Washington from the U.S. F-35 stealth fighter jet program. The United States has said Turkey risks U.S. sanctions if it deploys the Russian-made S-400s, but has not yet imposed them.
The State Department did not immediately respond to a request for comment on the letter.
Bloomberg reported on Tuesday that Turkey was planning to conduct a comprehensive test of the S-400 missile-defense system, citing people familiar with the matter. (Source: Reuters)
07 Oct 20. Greece Joins the Turkey-Russia S-400 Saga, and Congress Wants Answers. Was Ankara using its Russian air-defense system to track a NATO ally?
It began on Monday with Greek press reports that claimed that Turkey had activated its Russian-made S-400 air defense system — and specifically to track a Hellenic Air Force F-16 returning from a multilateral exercise in August.
If the report is true — that is, if Ankara turned on the radar to track a U.S.-made jet piloted by another NATO ally — it would signal that Trump administration threats have done little to persuade Turkey to give up a weapon that has been a point of fierce contention.
The trouble is, nobody seems to know whether it actually happened.
The Pentagon has been silent on the episode. A State Department spokesperson would say only that U.S. officials are “aware of these reports.” And on Capitol Hill, a bipartisan pair of senators sent a letter to Secretary of State Mike Pompeo on Wednesday demanding to know if the local press reports were true, and urging the administration to impose long-delayed sanctions that lawmakers say were required by law when Turkey acquired the system.
“Reports of this activation make clear that Turkey has no intention of reversing course and divesting of this system,” Sens. Chris Van Hollen, D-Md., and James Lankford, R-Okla., wrote. “Turkey’s recent reported activation of the S-400 system to detect the U.S. F-16 underscores our grave concerns about Russia’s ability to access sensitive data.”
Ankara’s 2017 purchase of the S-400 ignited concerns that the sophisticated Russian air-defense system would send sensitive information about NATO aircraft and networks back to Moscow. Congress has been quietly holding up arms sales to Turkey since mid-2018 over the issue. After Turkey began to take S-400 deliveries began last year, the Trump administration booted Ankara from the F-35 program.
Turkey has used the anti-aircraft and anti-missile system before, in a test run that targeted one of its own F-16 jets — an episode that further incensed lawmakers on Capitol Hill. On Tuesday, Bloomberg reported that Ankara plans to test the system next week at a site in Sinop province on the Black Sea coast. There, the missile system, which has a 400-kilometer range, could watch aircraft over large parts of the sky where U.S. and Russian military aircraft are known to frequent. The article claims that Turkey “isn’t activating the batteries, but testing equipment as well as the readiness of Turkish personnel” — vague language that leaves open multiple possibilities.
But analysts inside and out of government are divided over how the United States is likely to respond to this latest provocation, if it is proven to be true. Turkey has already taken possession of the S-400 and is unlikely to give up the extremely expensive piece of hardware, analysts say. And although Congress has urged the imposition of sanctions on Ankara, President Donald Trump has so far been reluctant to levy them. It’s unclear whether this latest incident would change Washington’s calculus.
Under a 2017 law known in Washington by its acronym, CAATSA, the U.S. must impose sanctions on governments that conclude a major defense purchase from Russia.. Lawmakers insist that the S-400 deal meets that definition.
“If they’re turning the S-400 on, they’re probably using it in some way,” said Thomas Karako, a missile defense expert at the Center for Strategic and International Studies think tank in Washington. “But use isn’t the criterion for CAATSA sanctions.
“The burden of proof is not to establish the ‘improper’ use — say, towards fellow NATO allies,” Karako said. “The CAATSA language is about taking delivery of arms from Russia.”
The State Department spokesman did not rule out the use of CAATSA.
“We continue to object strenuously to Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 air defense system, and are deeply concerned with reports that Turkey is continuing its efforts to bring the S-400 into operation,” the State department spokesman said. “We continue to stress at the highest levels that the S-400 transaction remains a major obstacle in the bilateral relationship and at NATO, as well as a risk for potential CAATSA sanctions.”
The department is “confident that President Erdogan and his senior officials understand our position.”
Still, the alleged incident would suggest Ankara is moving ahead with its implementation of the system. An S-400 battery is made up of a command post, missile launchers, and a powerful radar that can spot and track multiple objects simultaneously from hundreds of miles away.
“Radars don’t just sit and stare. In surveillance mode, they’re casting about to see if anything pops up,” Karako said. “But when they find something, they’re going to put more energy on the target and track it.”
For Turkey, the alleged episode is likely less about NATO and the United States than it is about its long-running dispute with Greece. Erdogan may also be banking on a muscular foreign policy posture to take Turks’ minds off the struggling Turkish economy and its increasingly autocratic leader. Over the summer, tempers have flared between the neighbors over access to gas reserves in the Mediterranean, heightening tensions over the divided island of Cyprus and the crossing of migrants from Turkey into Greece.
Pompeo visited Greece, Crete, and Cyprus in September, during which he explicitly backed Cyprus and Greece in their jurisdictional dispute over maritime rights.
“We remain deeply concerned by Turkey’s ongoing operations surveying for natural resources in areas over which Greece and Cyprus assert jurisdiction in the Eastern Mediterranean. The Republic of Cyprus has the right to exploit its natural resources, including the right to hydrocarbons found in its territorial sea and its economic – exclusive economic zone,” Pompeo said in prepared remarks on Sept. 12. “We also believe that the resources of Cyprus should be shared equitably among the Greek Cypriots and Turkish Cypriots communities.”
The U.S. relationship with Turkey has become increasingly strained over the past two years. Although the standoff over the S-400 has been the central issue, Erdogan’s October 2019 incursion into Syria also created a major rift between the two NATO allies. Some analysts and lawmakers have argued that Turkey’s purchase of the S-400 shows it is moving away from the U.S. and the rest of NATO, and towards Russia — or, relatedly, that Russia is using existing fissures in the relationship to try to cleave Turkey away from NATO. Still others claim that Turkey is only doing what it has always done: make tactical and strategic decisions based on what it considered its best interests.
But inside the executive branch, officials are keenly aware of the cost of a deeper split with Turkey. The stakes include access to several key U.S. and NATO sites. Incirlik Air Base hosts American B-61 nuclear gravity bombs, and is a friendly jumping-off point into the Middle East. Turkey also controls the Bosphorus, which under a 1936 agreement means it controls naval access to and from the Black Sea.
Critics — including some lawmakers — say that the alleged use of the system is proof that the Trump administration has been too soft on Turkey.
“This is a far cry from maximum pressure, and from getting allies to do the right thing,” Karako said. “The price of the administration’s failure to impose sanctions has now become increasingly more apparent.” (Source: Defense One)
07 Oct 20. In Nagorno-Karabakh conflict, Erdogan eyes Turkey’s “place in world order.” President Tayyip Erdogan’s strong backing for Azerbaijan in the conflict over Nagorno-Karabakh has set Turkey apart from other big nations and alarmed NATO allies that are demanding a ceasefire.
FILE PHOTO: Russian President Vladimir Putin and Turkish President Tayyip Erdogan arrive for a news conference following their talks in Moscow, Russia March 5, 2020. Pavel Golovkin/Pool via REUTERS/File Photo
But for Erdogan, the resolute stance is a strategic priority and a costly necessity that reinforces his strategy of flexing military muscle abroad to retain support at home.
The president has described Ankara’s support for Azerbaijan as part of Turkey’s quest for its “deserved place in the world order.”
He sees an opportunity to alter the status quo over Nagorno-Karabakh – in which France, the United States and Russia have for decades led international mediation efforts and ethnic Armenians have retained control of the enclave even though it is internationally recognised as part of Azerbaijan.
“Turkey’s logic in almost all corners of the map is disruption. Anything that undermines the status quo is good for it, because the previous status quo was seen to counter its interests,” said Galip Dalay, fellow at Robert Bosch Academy.
“In Nagorno-Karabakh there was a frozen conflict in which it remained in Armenia’s hands. Turkey wants to undermine this game even if it cannot fully determine it” given Russia’s traditional influence in the region, he said.
Turkey’s stance – sending an implicit threat to Armenia and a message of caution to Russia, which has a defence pact with Armenia – reflects its confidence in drone warfare used in Syria, Libya and Iraq, political analysts said.
Turkish-made drones are now spearheading Azeri attacks and one senior official in Ankara told Reuters that Turks were providing infrastructure and support for the weapons, though there are no troops in the field.
Erdogan is also betting that, despite their differences over Nagorno-Karabakh, Turkey and Russia get on well enough to prevent a wider conflict in the region.
YEARS OF “NEGLECT”
Russia, the United States and France have led calls for a ceasefire over Nagorno-Karabakh but Erdogan says they have neglected the crisis over the past three decades and should not lead peacemaking. Turkey says a lasting peace will depend on proposals being made for what happens after hostilities end.
Erdogan’s stance had worsened a war of words with France, whose population includes many of Armenian origin, but it is accepted by Turkey’s main opposition parties.
Military successes and the flexing of military muscle in other parts of the world have helped his ruling AK Party, allied with nationalists, retain an edge in opinion polls despite a currency depreciation that has worsened economic fallout from the coronavirus pandemic.
Erdogan’s job approval rose nearly 5% last month, according to MetroPoll research group, after a standoff with the European Union over Mediterranean territorial rights.
“All of these conflicts out there boost the perception that Turkey is a country under siege, rightly or wrongly,” said Sinan Ulgen, chairman of the Istanbul-based EDAM think tank.
But he said that “ultimately it’s the economy that determines the political contest.”
OBLIGATION AND PRIORITY
Two economic contractions in as many years have halted the boom years under Erdogan, and Moody’s ratings agency says Turkey risks a balance-of-payments crisis after a nearly 25% drop in the lira this year.
Ankara’s reliance on gas imports from Azerbaijan, which jumped 23% in the first half of 2020, are also an incentive to take a firm position on Nagorno-Karabakh.
Defence spending jumped 16% this year to $7bn, or 5% of the overall budget, and the military budget has soared nearly 90% in a decade.
But cross-border campaigns such as those waged by Turkey in northern Syria, Iraq and Libya are a priority for Erdogan, a second Turkish official said.
“Neither the pandemic nor the deterioration of the budget will be an obstacle to defence spending,” the official said. “It’s not preferable but it’s obligatory. Turkey is in the field with the United States and Russia. We cannot think or act small.”
A diminished U.S. presence in the region has left gaps that Turkey and Russia have sought to fill, using diplomacy to help contain conflicts in Syria’s Idlib province and in Libya, two protracted proxy wars in which they are on opposing sides.
Ankara has denied allegations – including by Russia – that it has sent Syrian mercenaries to support Azerbaijan.
Close cooperation with Moscow in many areas means “there is no concern over being dragged into a conflict with Russia,” the second official said. (Source: Reuters)
06 Oct 20. U.S., Bulgaria Chart 10-Year Road Map for Military Cooperation. Defense Secretary Dr. Mark T. Esper and Bulgarian Minister of Defense Krasimir Karakachanov signed a 10-year road map charting defense cooperation between the two countries over the next decade.
Bulgaria and the United States are NATO allies, and Esper praised the Balkan nation for dedicating 3 percent of gross domestic product toward defense in fiscal 2019. The road map looks for ways for the two countries to fix gaps in military capabilities and to improve interoperability, Esper said.
It also establishes a framework for the continuous development of Bulgaria’s military readiness and capabilities for the next decade through sustained cooperation between the two nations.
“This road map will give us a chance to not only intensify our bilateral relations, but to be individually beneficial to each other’s national defense,” Karakachanov said through an interpreter. “Also, to be beneficial to NATO … to be able to counter the malign intentions of our adversaries.”
Bulgaria is a front-line NATO state. Esper said the nation plays a critical role in protecting NATO’s eastern flank.
“We, of course, share many security interests, particularly issues such as Black Sea security, defense modernization and security cooperation,” Esper said.
Esper said he wants more NATO allies to reach at least the 2 percent goal of GDP committed to defense. “I encourage you and our other alliance members to pay to push for 2 percent of the GDP spending target and to make the needed investments to enhance your capabilities and capacity,” he said. “Because you know, I believe that 2 percent should be a floor, not a ceiling.” (Source: US DoD)
06 Oct 20. Russian fighter jet Su-27 intercepted four UK military aircraft, including two fighters, over the Black Sea, the Russian Defence Ministry’s National Defence Control Centre (NDCC) said on Tuesday.
Russian airspace control systems detected four air targets approaching the Russian border over neutral waters of the Black Sea. To identify and prevent border violations, a Su-27 fighter from the air defence forces of the Southern Military District was scrambled, the NDCC said.
“The crew of the Russian fighter identified the air targets as the Royal Air Force’s strategic reconnaissance aircraft RC-135, two Typhoon fighters, and refuelling aircraft KS-3, and escorted them over the Black Sea”, the statement says.
The Russian Armed Forces detect dozens of foreign jets that are engaged in reconnaissance activities close to Russia’s airspace every week, according to reports. (Source: News Now/Sputnik)
06 Oct 20. Nagorno-Karabakh: UK and Canada joint statement in response to continued military clashes. The UK and Canada have issued a joint statement calling for an end to the military clashes between Armenia and Azerbaijan in Nagorno-Karabakh.
Foreign Secretary Dominic Raab and the Canadian Foreign Minister François-Phillippe Champagne said:
Canada and the United Kingdom reiterate the urgent need to end the continuing military action in and around the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict zone.
We are particularly concerned by reports of the shelling of civilian areas and wish to express our condolences to the families of those who have tragically lost their lives. The parties to the conflict must stop the violence and respect the ceasefire agreement.
We firmly support the statements made by the Co-Chairs of the OSCE Minsk Group. We urge all external parties and friends of both states to redouble their efforts in support of an end to hostilities and to refrain from taking actions that risk exacerbating the crisis.
A comprehensive resolution of the Nagorno-Karabakh conflict is overdue. That can only be delivered through a negotiated settlement and not through military action. All parties must urgently return to the negotiating table to work toward this aim without preconditions. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
06 Oct 20. 2021 UK-Taiwan Innovative Industries programme: request for proposal. British Office and the Ministry of Science and Technology launch the UK-Taiwan Innovative Industries programme (I2P).
To strengthen the exchange and co-operation between academic and research circles of the UK and Taiwan, the British Office Taipei and the Ministry of Science and Technology (MOST) are proud to jointly launch the (I2P).
The programme aims to facilitate deep bilateral co-operation with a view to enhancing scientific research capability, developing international co-operative relationships, and participating in large-scale international programmes.
There are two categories of the programme: bilateral researcher placements and virtual workshops with an emphasis on:
- UK’s 4 Grand Challenges industrial policy: artificial intelligence and data, ageing society, clean growth, future of mobility
- Taiwan’s 6 Core Strategic Industries: information and digital technology, cybersecurity, biotech and medical technology, national defense, green and renewable energy, and strategic stockpile industries
- 5+2 Innovative Industries: intelligent machinery, IoT, green energy, biomedicine, new agriculture, and circular economy
We welcome applications from any UK or Taiwan-based researcher, including PhD students and postdoctoral researchers. We encourage scientific research personnel to conduct theme-based collaborative research or preliminary exploration. This can be done through topic specific collaboration with universities & colleges, public research institutions, catapults, and related industrial sectors in the UK and Taiwan.
See UK-Taiwan I2P call for applications: information and guidance (ODT, 39.3KB) for more information.
Deadline to send application is 26 October 2020. If you have any questions, please contact Guy Robertson, Senior Science and Innovation Officer at British Office. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
05 Oct 20. Despite pressure from lawmakers and pandemic, French defense budget to remain unchanged. Despite calls from French lawmakers for the nation’s defense industry to receive extra financial support from the government to counter the negative effects of the coronavirus pandemic, the 2021 defense budget will remain unchanged.
Armed Forces Minister Florence Parly said last week that the 2021 defense budget — planned before the pandemic as part of the 2019-2025 military program law — represents “the third year in a row that we have followed the military program law to the letter: This is an unprecedented effort, with an additional €1.7bn [U.S. $2bn] or so every year.”
She added that the armed forces since 2019 have had €18bn more to spend than in 2017, noting that between 2019 and 2023, the military investment budget will total €110bn, which is more than the €100bn national recovery plan announced by the French government last month to support a suffering economy.
But Françoise Dumas, president of the National Assembly’s National Defense and Armed Forces Committee, had called for “defense to be at the heart of the future recovery plan.” And Cédric Perrin, vice president of the Senate Committee on Foreign Affairs, Defence and Armed Forces, argued “there is no specific component of this €100bn plan for the defense industry sector.”
The €49.7bn French defense budget for 2021 includes payment appropriations of €39.2bn, which is an increase from the previous year, as planned in the 2019-2025 military program law. Of this, a record €22.3bn is earmarked for modernizing equipment and buildings; €12.3bn will go toward wages; and €4.6bn is appropriated for operating costs.
The government’s department focused on veterans’ affairs is to receive €2bn of the total defense budget, and the remaining €8.5bn will go toward pensions.
What about the recovery plan?
In early June, the government revealed a series of recovery plans aimed at specific industries particularly hard hit by the pandemic. Though the defense sector was not the sole target of the €15bn aeronautics recovery plan, it nevertheless benefits from the funds, given France’s aeronautic giants — Airbus and Dassault Aviation — are active in both the civilian and military sectors, as are their two major suppliers, Safran and Thales.
There are about 1,300 companies ranging from startups to major firms in the French aeronautics sector, and they employ approximately 300,000 people.
The recovery plan is not aimed at the four major companies, but rather in helping their supply chain involved in specific projects, such as modernizing production tools, research and development efforts, and digital transformation.
As a condition for receiving the government funds, the four large companies promised to “consider favorably” offers made by suppliers in France and within the European Union based on global cost, while also taking into account litigation risks, the reliability of after-sales services, the conformity of products and services, their societal and environmental responsibility, and their innovation.
The Armed Forces Ministry is participating in the recovery plan by spending €832m on five measures to ensure “an immediate workload for the whole sector.”
The first measure was to anticipate an order for three A330 Phénix multirole tankers, a move enabling the Air and Space Force’s two A340 aircraft to retire from service this year instead of in 2028, and its three A310 aircraft to retire in 2021 instead of 2023.
The second measure is an order for a light surveillance and reconnaissance aircraft; the third is an early order for eight H225M Caracal helicopters for the Air and Space Force; and the fourth is for a naval airborne drone system (known by its French acronym SDAM) and an onboard mini-drone (SMDM).
The fifth measure is for 12 helicopters (two EC-145s and 10 EC-160s) for the Gendarmerie and the civil security force.
The ministry’s contributions also include €300m in subsidies for suppliers and subcontractors, as well as €1.5bn spent over the next three years to support R&D and innovation.
What are the defense funds going toward?
Under the defense budget, the Army will procure:
- 12,000 HK416F assault rifles (and order another 12,000).
- Five Caiman helicopters (and order 21 light joint helicopters).
- 20 Jaguar armored vehicles; 157 Griffon armored vehicles; 80 renovated VBL light armored vehicles (and order another 120); and 1,000 VLTP light tactical multipurpose vehicles.
- 850 portable radios (and order 2,900); and 925 vehicle radios (and order 7,300).
- 200 MMP medium-range missiles and 75 firing posts.
- 10 SDT tactical drones.
The Navy is procuring:
- A FREMM multimission frigate (and ordering an intervention and defense FDI frigate); and an upgraded light stealth frigate.
- A Caiman helicopter (and ordering eight HIL light joint helicopters).
- Three upgraded ATL2 patrol aircraft.
- Aster 30 missiles; F21 Artemis torpedoes; and four Exocet MM40 Block 3C anti-ship missiles (and ordering 45 Exocet kits).
The Air & Space Force is acquiring:
- An Atlas A400M transport aircraft; three A330 Phénix multirole tankers; two upgraded C-130H transport aircraft; and 14 upgraded Mirage M2000D fighter aircraft.
- 14 Talios laser designation pods.
- 90 upgraded Scalp missiles.
- Six SCCOA 4 radars.
- Specifically for the space segment, a Musis/CSO satellite; 15 Syracuse IV ground stations; and one Ceres satellite system.
The service is also ordering one HIL light joint helicopter; 367 MICA NG air-to-air missiles; 150 Mica NG training missiles; and 13 Syracuse IV ground stations. Two major programs for the service will also be launched in 2021: the Mentor training aircraft and the future combat air system demonstrator. (Source: Defense News)
05 Oct 20. UK Carrier Strike Group assembles for the first time. The Royal Navy’s new Carrier Strike Group has assembled for the first time, marking the beginning of a new era of operations.
HMS Queen Elizabeth is at the centre of the group which is the start of joint carrier operations between the navy and its NATO allies.
Nine ships, 15 fighter jets, 11 helicopters and 3,000 personnel from the UK, US and the Netherlands are now carrying out exercises in the North Sea.
The strike group is the largest and most powerful European-led maritime force in almost 20 years.
Commodore Steve Moorhouse, Commander UK Carrier Strike Group, said: “The new UK Carrier Strike Group is the embodiment of British maritime power, and sits at the heart of a modernised and emboldened Royal Navy.
“Protected by a ring of advanced destroyers, frigates, helicopters and submarines, and equipped with fifth generation fighters, HMS Queen Elizabeth is able to strike from the sea at a time and place of our choosing; and with our NATO allies at our side, we will be ready to fight and win in the most demanding circumstances.
“Carrier Strike offers Britain choice and flexibility on the global stage; it reassures our friends and allies and presents a powerful deterrent to would-be adversaries.”
The Carrier Strike Group includes NATO’s most sophisticated destroyers – the Royal Navy’s Type 45s HMS Diamond and HMS Defender and US Navy Arleigh Burke-class USS The Sullivans as well as frigates HMS Northumberland and HMS Kent from the UK and the Dutch Navy’s HNLMS Evertsen.
They will not only protect the Queen Elizabeth-class carriers from enemy ships, submarines, aircraft and missiles, but are also capable of conducting a range of supporting missions, from maritime security to disaster relief.
Meanwhile, two Royal Fleet Auxiliary ships, RFA Tideforce and RFA Fort Victoria, will supply fuel, food, spares and ammunition, to enabled sustained operations from the sea without host nation support.
Commander Vince Owen, Commanding Officer of HMS Defender, said: “Providing air and missile defence to a Carrier Strike Group is exactly the task HMS Defender and the Type 45 has been designed to do.
“Having previously supported the French aircraft carrier FGS Charles de Gaulle in the fight against ISIL in 2015 and more recently been part of the USS Abraham Lincoln task group as she transited through the Strait of Hormuz last year, it is exciting to be integrating HMS Defender into the UK-led Carrier Strike Group for the first time.
“Having just successfully completed a period of Basic Operational Sea Training over the summer, the men and women that make up my ship’s company are motivated and ready to take part in the next stage of our training in preparation for deploying with the Carrier Strike Group next year.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth and her Strike Group are currently exercising alongside allied nations in the North Sea, as part of NATO’s largest annual exercise, Joint Warrior.
Cdr Rick Ongering, Commanding Officer of HNLMS Evertsen, added: “The Royal Netherlands Navy and the Royal Navy have been very close maritime partners for decades.
“Our marines have been working together through the UK-Netherlands Amphibious Force for almost fifty years and our ships regularly undertake Fleet Operational Sea Training in the UK.
“However, the opportunity to accompany HMS Queen Elizabeth is a new experience and HNLMS Evertsen is excited to be working with the UK Carrier Strike Group during Exercise Joint Warrior this October.” (Source: Royal Navy)
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