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09 Nov 20. Germany: Biden won’t focus on NATO defence spending target as much as Trump. German Foreign Minister Heiko Maas told broadcaster Deutschlandfunk on Monday that not everything would change under U.S. President-elect Joe Biden but much would get better.
U.S. President Donald Trump has frequently complained that Germany has failed to raise defence spending to 2% of economic output as mandated by the NATO military alliance. Maas said he did not think that the spending target would be in focus as much under Biden as under Trump.
Maas said the argument over defence spending would not end under Biden but would be conducted in a different style. (Source: Reuters)
BATTLESPACE Comment: Congratulations to Joe Bien in winning the election, although we don’t expect final confirmation for some weeks with news coming from Georgia of software glitches in the voting system which favoured the Biden camp. Sources in the US suggest that given the current unstable world order and the lack of control of the Senate that President-elect Biden would not drastically reduce defense spending. However, as this Reuters pieces states, the impending departure of Donald Trump will give Europe and Germany in particular some breathing space over defence spending particularly during the COVID-19 outbreak and incraesing spending there.
06 Nov 20. US election drama ups the ante for Europe’s signature next-gen weapon. The ongoing uncertainty surrounding the U.S. presidential election has reinvigorated conversations regarding Europe’s efforts to rebuild its own defense capabilities – no matter who occupies the White House.
Recent commitments to invest in pan-European defense solutions are becoming more urgent, and observers are looking for proof that these proposed joint programs are truly coming to life.
One effort being held up to the microscope is mainland Europe’s program to field a next-generation fighter aircraft and weapon program by 2040. The Future Combat Air System, or FCAS, includes a sixth-generation fighter jet, multiple “remote carrier” drones, a next-generation weapon system, a brand new jet engine, advanced sensors and stealth technologies, and an “air combat cloud.” Airbus and Dassault Aviation serve as lead contractors for the program, representing Germany and France, respectively. Indra leads Spain’s industry participation.
FCAS is among multiple pan-European defense programs that have emerged amid four years of a U.S. presidency under Donald Trump. Since 2016, Trump has questioned the ongoing relevancy of trans-Atlantic efforts, including NATO, and called on European allies to spend more on their collective defense.
As of Friday morning, votes continued to be tallied to determine the next leader of the United States. On the eve of the election, German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer warned in an op-ed published by Politico that the “illusions of European strategic autonomy must come to an end.”
While the minister emphasized that policymakers in Germany and Europe must continue to ramp up their military capabilities, she also urged the continent to acknowledge that “for the foreseeable future, we will remain dependent” upon U.S. security cooperation. Other U.S.-European policy observers wrote on social media this week that the chaotic process of the presidential election should be a wakeup call for Europe to maintain a laser focus on its own strategic destiny.
Asked whether the U.S. election may complicate Europe’s motivation to build joint military capabilities, Joel Barre, director of the French procurement office Direction Générale de l’Armement (DGA) recently told reporters that the Franco-German cooperation on FCAS and other programs would remain “anchored.”
The next five years will be crucial for the program to prove itself, analysts and nation stakeholders agreed. The partners involved are moving quickly through the effort’s initial stages, said Bruno Fichefeux, FCAS leader for Airbus, in an interview.
Since the program’s inception in 2017, the industry team is now 19 companies wide and has invested over 200 million euros into the ongoing Joint Concept Study phase, along with signed technology demonstrator contracts, he noted.
“It’s a sign of a strong motivation by all partners to make it happen,” he said.
The results of the Joint Concept Study, launched in 2019, are expected to be revealed in summer 2021, the French defense ministry told Defense News. Meanwhile, the teams are working in parallel on Phase 1A of the demonstrator portion, launched this past February and scheduled to run for 18 months.
The initial demonstrators for the next-generation fighter and remote carrier drones are expected by 2026, while the advanced combat cloud may be introduced a year earlier, a source close to the program told Defense News. The full development program is currently slated to begin around 2027.
While all of the FCAS components should enter service in 2040 – to replace the partner nations’ fleets of Dassault Rafale and Eurofighter Typhoon fighters – certain capabilities may come online sooner. For example, some first-generation remote carrier drones may be available in the early 2030s to upgrade existing Eurofighter jets, the source said.
Several key decisions remain to be made. The stakeholders have not yet established a date when they will solidify the fighter jet and remote carrier designs, according to Fichefeux.
The question of workshare division also remains in flux. “You have to base the workshare on the typical criteria – who has the skills, who has the knowledge, who has the technology, who is the best player to ensure that we can move forward on this technology without duplicating it – while ensuring a level of cooperation. And this is what the nations are expecting of us,” he said. “It’s not a competition program. It’s a cooperation program.”
Programs like FCAS will position Europe’s defense companies to remain competitive in the global market, analysts said. The complex effort to build a “system of systems” involving multiple components and cutting-edge technical fields, has no equivalent in the history of arms cooperation programs in Europe, said Hélène Masson, a senior research fellow at the Fondation pour la Recherche Stratégique, a French independent think tank.
There is pressure to ensure that European industrial players maintain and enhance their technological prowess, and to compete against their American, Asian and Russian counterparts, she told Defense News.
The success of FCAS will depend on the quality of the Joint Concept Study and demonstrator phases, with the goal of reducing technological risks “and therefore limit delays and possible additional costs,” Masson said.
The program needs to start showing that it has a “degree of momentum,” said Sash Tusa, an aerospace and defense partner at Agency Partners, a London-based independent research firm.
“It’s important to focus on three key data points: one, when is the demonstrator going to fly; two, when is the prototype going to be flying; three, when is the in-service date,” he told Defense News. “Those are the three absolutely cast-in-stone dates, and as soon as they start moving, that tells you something about the program.”
FCAS could still suffer from its “deeply political nature,” Tusa noted. Previous efforts to build a Franco-German fighter jet have devolved into separate programs amid disputes over workshare.
The program could be a “litmus test” for France to prove that it is committed to a joint European weapons program this time around, said Dan Darling, a senior analyst for Forecast International, a U.S. market intelligence firm.
With Spain joining FCAS nearly three years into the program, questions still remain regarding workshare among the partner nations. Indra, Madrid’s industry lead, did not respond to requests for comment by this article’s publication.
But even if its workshare portion is smaller than that of Paris and Berlin, the research and development efforts that Spain will be privy to as part of FCAS serve as an opportunity that the nation “didn’t want to pass up,” Darling said.
Some watchers remain skeptical that this joint fighter jet effort will succeed where previous endeavors have failed. “It’s important to remember that it would take a serious breakthrough in Franco-German defense politics to change the status quo,” said Richard Aboulafia, vice president of analysis for the Teal Group, a U.S.-based market analysis firm.
But the current geopolitical pressures on Europe serve as powerful incentives for the program to succeed, Fichefeux noted.
“The complexity of [FCAS] requires nations to put their strengths together, not only in terms of funding, but also in terms of industrial capacity and technologies,” he said. “This trend towards sovereignty … really favors such a program as FCAS.”
“The geopolitical situation that we are facing reminds us every day that we need to have our own capabilities, and need to be able to operate in the future theaters within a sovereign manner,” he continued. (Source: Defense News)
06 Nov 20. European Union erects legal hoops for outsiders to join defense programs. European Union officials in Brussels are setting up a labyrinth of rules for non-bloc countries and their companies to join defense-cooperation projects under the PESCO framework.
The agreement is the product of efforts by Germany, which holds the rotating presidency of the Council of the European Union, to force a compromise on an issue that had been simmering for years. The idea is to preserve the intent of PESCO – improving defense cooperation among member states and protect companies here – while keeping the door open for outsiders, especially NATO countries, to partake.
In the end, the agreement text leans heavily in the direction of making third-party participation an exceptional affair, with a heavy dose of subjectivity involved in pre-selecting partners and the requirement for unanimous approval by all members to eventually grant an invitation.
The PESCO framework envisions groups of countries working together – three, at least – to solve defense problems that range from military logistics to cyber warfare. There are currently 47 such projects on the books. Approved projects can apply for subsidies through the multibillion-dollar European Defence Fund.
The compromise on non-EU countries’ participation “provides for an admission process in several stages,” the Germany defense ministry said in a statement Nov. 5. “The European Council decides on every case individually.”
Those case-by-case reviews are designed to dispel any notion of an automatic process for outsiders into what defense-minded officials throughout Europe hope will evolve into a reliable pipeline for building military capabilities on the continent.
“We have demonstrated Europe’s ability to act,” German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer said. “In two respects, we have given an important impetus – to PESCO and European defense policy, as well as to EU-NATO cooperation.”
It remains to be seen whether the most important NATO member, the United States, finds the the terms enticing. Trump administration officials in recent years have pushed for maximum openness of the bloc’s defense efforts to Washington and its powerful army of defense companies. When news of a draft compromise agreement first broke, a Pentagon spokesman told Defense News that officials there had no comment yet.
German officials plan to put the new agreement on the agenda at a Nov. 20 meeting of EU defense ministers.
Applicant countries must pass a series of requirements to invited to specific projects. For example, it must “share the values” of the European Union and honor “good, neighborly relations” with member countries. Applicants also must offer “substantial added value” to a given project, for example through “technical expertise or additional capabilities including operational or financial support,” the text states.
EU officials have been concerned about outside countries benefiting from defense know-how generated under PESCO and turning it against a member states. Such a scenario is plausible, for example, in the case of Turkey, which has threatened Greece and Cyprus over natural gas extraction rights in the Mediterranean.
As a result, the new pact includes a section that seeks to prevent the proliferation of technology against EU interests, to be codified in a separate agreement.
Additionally, interested non-EU countries must have a “security of information agreement” with the bloc, as well as a “administrative arrangement” with the European Defence Agency, according to the document.
Notable, the agreement sets out different rules for countries and defense companies, dubbed “entities” in the text, to partake in EU projects.
According to the German defense ministry, third-party states can strive to play a role “as of today.” Individual companies vying for contracts stemming from their governments’ participation must wait until 2026, the agreement text states. (Source: Defense News)
05 Nov 20. Funding questions loom over the UK’s Integrated Review. The UK’s long-awaited Integrated Review into defence, security and foreign policy has been stuck in political limbo since the Treasury postponed a multi-year spending review.
This week, the situation surrounding the review remained in doubt, with the Secretary of State for Defence Ben Wallace telling Parliament that the government was still assessing the implications of scrapping the multi-year spending review.
MPs and experts have expressed concern that only funding the Ministry of Defence (MOD) for a year would further postpone long-awaited spending decisions and add to a black hole in the department’s modernisation budget.
Before the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic struck, the UK had planned to publish the Integrated Review alongside a comprehensive spending review which would have set the MOD’s budget for four years, giving it room to make spending decisions.
On Monday, Wallace told MPs: “The government announced on 21 October that they will conduct a one-year spending review for 2021-22. The implications of that decision for the integrated review are currently being considered. The government will provide an update to Parliament once this has been decided.”
Labour’s Shadow Defence Minister John Healey criticised the confusion around the state of the review, saying: “Is it not the regrettable truth that the Chancellor has cut the ground from under the Defence Secretary and our British forces? The Secretary of State rightly said that previous Tory defence reviews have “failed because they were never in step with the spending plans”.
“They were a cover for cuts, which is why our armed forces are nearly 12,000 short of the strength promised in the 2015 review; essential equipment, from new tanks to the new radar system protecting our aircraft carrier, is long overdue; and the defence budget has a £13bn black hole. A fully-fledged, fully funded strategic defence and security review is needed now more than ever. What does he say about the failure to deliver on that?”
Wallace responded saying that “no one has said yet that the integrated review will be delayed or curtailed” but added that the government was ‘studying’ the implications a one-year spending review would have.
Critical decisions on the future of the UK’s Armed Forces are wrapped up in the Integrated Review, including the future of the British Army’s main battle tank and infantry fighting vehicle (IFV) modernisation programmes. The army is in the final stages of negotiating contracts for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (CSP) and Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (LEP). (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Nov 20. Russia would defeat British Division in 2025, MPs warned. MPs have been warned that if the current rate of progress continues, a British Army division in 2025 would be defeated by a Russian division in a conflict scenario.
Speaking to Parliament’s Defence Select Committee, International Institute for Strategic Studies (IISS) senior fellow for land warfare Ben Barry told MPs that a Russian tank brigade would defeat a British Army Division in its current state.
Barry said that by 2025, the British Army has suggested it could field a division that would only have ‘half the combat power’ of planned divisions described in the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review (SDSR).
Compared with a Russian tank division, the British force described in SDSR 2015 would be numerically smaller, encompassing two-thirds of the tanks, 40% fewer anti-tank guided weapons, a third fewer artillery pieces, and a third fewer multi-barrel rocket launchers. However, the British Force would have slightly more infantry fighting vehicles (IFVs).
Nonetheless, despite the smaller force, Barry said the Army’s envisaged 2015 SDSR division could likely stop a Russian a tank division ‘in its tracks’.
Barry explained that the reduced UK division would only have half the anti-armour capability, 30% of the tanks, two-thirds of the IFVs, two-thirds of the anti-tank guided weapons, and 15% of self-propelled artillery when compared to a Russian tank division.
Barry added: “I think it would be very difficult for that reduced division to actually stop a Russian tank division. A Russian tank division would seriously overmatch the reduced third division, and of course, overmatch is a very polite, clinical way of saying could be defeated.”
Under the 2015 SDSR, the British Army planned to have by 2025 a division made up of three Brigades drawn from two armoured infantry brigades and two of the new Strike Brigades.
In October, in evidence submitted to the same committee, the British Army said that by 2025 it would only be able to field a division made up of one manoeuvre brigade, and one interim manoeuvre support brigade, adding that a division including planned Strike Brigades would not be ready until the 2030s.
The manoeuvre brigade will consist of tanks and armoured IFVs, with the described interim manoeuvre support brigade made up of a mixed fleet of Boxer, AJAX, and in-service protected mobility vehicles.
In its evidence, the British Army added that Boxer would achieve full operating capability in the early 2030s, then allowing it to take the place of protected mobility vehicles and complete the full planned Strike capability.
Explaining the reason behind the reduced force, the Ministry of Defence (MOD) wrote: “The 2015 SDSR, and subsequent planning round decisions, did not fully resource the army to achieve this output within this timeframe.
“In the face of ongoing departmental financial challenges, subsequent programming decisions have kept the modernisation programme alive but placed it under increasing pressure and resulted in an inability to fully meet the 2015 SDSR ambitions.”
The UK is currently procuring 589 AJAX vehicles from General Dynamics Land Systems-UK and 508 Boxer Mechanised Infantry Vehicles (MIVs) which will form the basis of the British Army’s Strike brigades.
The British Army also plans to upgrade its Challenger 2 Main Battle Tanks, and Warrior IFVs, however, final decisions on these programmes are wrapped up in the UK’s upcoming integrated review into foreign, defence and security policy. Challenger 2 entered service in 1998, and Warrior in 1984.
Currently, the British Army is in talks with Lockheed Martin on the terms of a production contract for the Warrior Capability Sustainment Programme (WCSP). The army is also nearing the end of negotiations with Rheinmettal BAE Systems Land (RBSL) on the future of the Challenger 2 Life Extension Programme (LEP).
Ahead of the integrated review, there were some reports that the UK was assessing options to scrap its Challenger and Warrior fleets to focus spending on other capabilities. (Source: army-technology.com)
04 Nov 20. Reform European defence – sharply – from top-down, says EuroDefense. The European Union requires a radical top-down overhaul to its approach to defence – including a permanent EU command for operational and defence planning – if it is going to protect itself against future threats, says EuroDefense in its new set of recommendations to the EU leadership.
EU defence policy decisions in Brussels should shift away from unanimity, accompanied by a solid alignment of national military capabilities to EU defence requirements and, moreover, the voluntary placing on permanent standby of the national assets needed to support EU defence, argues the group. EuroDefense is a pan-European network of 14 national associations, the members of which are drawn from industry, military, research, and academic circles.
“Pooling and sharing of national capabilities are not enough for the credibility of EU defence,” it states in its Recommendations on EU Defence. “In order to implement this concept, political, legal, organisational and operational aspects will have to be dealt with.”
The 12-page document, seen by Janes, will soon be transmitted to the office of Ursula von der Leyen, president of the European Commission, and other European leaders.
The document’s elaboration fell to EuroDefense’s Working Group 27, which spent the past 18 months refining the recommendations to gain the support of all of its national associations, some of which wanted greater stress on capability development versus policy reform. It was a challenge to ensure that the latter emphasis prevailed, said Iric van Doorn, the working group’s Dutch chairperson. (Source: Jane’s)
03 Nov 20. Future Combat Mission System consortium charts FCAS progress. Germany’s Future Combat Mission System (FCMS) consortium has charted the progress being made in developing sensor technology for the Future Combat Air System (FCAS).
The FCAS ‘system of systems’ concept, for which the German FCMS consortium is developing sensors alongside Indra of Spain and Thales of France. (Airbus via Janes/Gareth Jennings)
On 3 November the FCMS consortium of Hensoldt, Diehl Defence, ESG, and Rohde & Schwarz reported good overall progress in its efforts to develop the future suite of FCAS sensors alongside its Spanish partner Indra and France’s Thales. In particular, it noted advancements in developing what it termed the 4? Meta Sensor Effector System (MSES).
“The FCMS experts [have] provided both a clear, forward-looking overview of the technological challenges, such as the 4? MSES, where 4? describes the complete volume of sensor space around the platforms as well as the effectors. Also well received [at recent briefings], some important insights into the operational requirements for the future system of systems from the perspective of an experienced fighter pilot,” FCMS said.
On its website, FCMS describes 4? MSES as enabling “the rapid orchestration in the integrated sensor-effector network, not only as a counterpoint to the ground-based enemy air-defence networks, but also to expected [airborne threats to the] FCAS and Next-Generation Weapon System (NGWS). In many cases, individual sensors and effectors will have to perform several tasks in parallel, for example, on the basis of multifunctionality. Electronically scanned [radar] systems or distributed apertures of passive sensor systems that can perform several tasks synchronously, for example, by means of electronic beam control and suitable resource management, pave the way for this.” (Source: Jane’s)
02 Nov 20. Accounting errors to blame for German elite troops’ ‘missing’ ammunition – report. Book-keeping errors rather than theft are likely to account for more than 60 kilograms of explosives and almost 50,000 rounds of ammunition thought to have disappeared from German special forces’ stores in the summer, according to an official report seen by Reuters.
An inventory found that most of the differences between the books and the actual stocks of the elite troops could be explained by accounting errors, a report sent to parliament by armed forces head General Eberhard Zorn on Monday showed.
About 29,000 of 48,000 missing pieces of ammunition, fuses and detonating cord have been accounted for, according to the document.
Evidence also suggested that the missing 62 kilograms of explosives never existed, according to the report. They appeared to be the result of staff mistakenly counting more explosives than were actually kept in stock.
The army leadership found in the course of an investigation into Germany’s elite KSK special forces that huge amounts of ammunition and explosives handed out to the forces appeared to have gone missing.
In May, police seized weapons, explosives and ammunition during a raid on the private property of a KSK soldier in the eastern state of Saxony.
In July, Defence Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer disbanded one of the four KSK commando companies in a bid to purge the unit of far-right extremist sympathisers.
Established in 1996, the KSK’s reputation was tarnished in 2003 when its then-commander was forced into early retirement after being accused of being close to far-right extremists – links that have continued to dog the unit’s reputation since. (Source: Reuters)
02 Nov 20. UK and France able to deploy a 10,000 strong joint military force in response to shared threats. This major milestone comes as the two countries commemorate the 10th anniversary of the Lancaster House defence and security, and nuclear treaties.
Ten years ago, the UK and France signed treaties at Lancaster House on defence and security, and on nuclear cooperation. This historic commitment has helped establish a long-term partnership and provides a framework for a joint response when mutual interests are at stake.
One of the key goals of the treaties was to establish the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) combining two of the world’s strongest militaries to tackle shared threats. The force has reached full operating capacity and can now rapidly deploy over 10,000 personnel in response to a crisis to fulfil a range of tasks including high intensity operations, peacekeeping, disaster relief or humanitarian assistance.
As part of CJEF training, this week British and French paratroopers will come together for Exercise Wessex Storm on Salisbury Plain. This sees soldiers from the French 2e Regiment Etranger de Parachutistes (2e REP) attached to the 2 PARA Battlegroup. Both units regularly train together to maintain their partnership so they are ready to deploy alongside each other.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “Today, the UK and France face a range of security threats of increasing scale and complexity. Having a highly capable, high readiness force is essential if we are to protect both UK security and the security of our NATO allies. It is testament to our close defence relationship that we have achieved all the milestones set out in the Lancaster House treaties 10 years ago, working together to protect our mutual interests.”
As part of the Lancaster House treaties a number of other 10-year goals were set alongside establishing CJEF. These included building a joint nuclear facility, increasing cooperation around the aircraft carriers and developing the UK and French complex weapons sectors. All of these goals have been achieved within the 10 year time frame set by the agreements and will be taken forward further as both nations look to build on the existing work.
The UK and France are deployed around the world together in places such as the Middle East to combat Daesh and Estonia as part of NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence. In Mali 3 RAF Chinooks and 100 UK personnel are deployed in a non-combat role in support of French counter-extremist operations.
The UK will continue to cooperate with our European partners in the future following the UK’s departure from the EU. We will continue to be a key player in Euro-Atlantic security and defence through our leadership in NATO, which will always be central to the UK’s security, our values and our place in the world.
Joint declaration of the French Minister for the Armed forces and the British Secretary of State for Defence for the 10th anniversary of Lancaster House
On November 2, 2010, France and the United Kingdom (UK) signed the Lancaster House Treaties establishing a long-term bilateral nuclear, defence and security partnership. We mark their continuing importance to both our countries today, on their tenth anniversary. In the face of the changing defence and security challenges we both face, the United Kingdom and France share a strong and deep defence partnership, with a permanent and comprehensive dialogue on defence and security issues at all levels and a shared desire to increase ambition across the relationship. Since 1995, France and the United Kingdom, Europe’s only nuclear powers, have clearly stated that they can imagine no circumstances under which a threat to the vital interests of one would not constitute a threat to the vital interests of the other. The high level of mutual trust is illustrated by our daily and unprecedented defence cooperation. We are leaders in security and defence. Our two nations invest nearly 40% of the defence budget of European Allies, and more than 50% of the European spending on research and technology. We are proud of our Armed Forces and on this important anniversary we pay tribute to all they accomplish together. We will continue to work alongside each other, through NATO, and in other fora such as the European Intervention Initiative, to address those common challenges and strengthen our collective defence and security.
Over the last ten years our armed forces have worked together to deliver the closer integration envisaged in 2010. We are delighted to announce today that the Combined Joint Expeditionary Force (CJEF) we committed then to develop has now reached full operating capability . This represents the successful conclusion of an extended 10-year programme of development and training. Our Armed Forces are now closer and more interoperable than they have ever been. As a result, we have at our disposal a flexible tool through which we can deploy up to 10,000 or more soldiers, sailors and airmen together on missions covering the full range of operations, from providing help after natural disasters to the most complex high-intensity combat operations. This capability is a unique European contribution to wider Euro-Atlantic security. And we are not resting on our laurels. We are taking forward a programme to consolidate and adapt what we have achieved to ensure it remains fitted to the changing environment, including in areas such as CIS, cyber, space, intelligence sharing and information management. We will also use the CJEF framework to improve further the interoperability of our Armed Forces’ future equipment, logistics, engineering, medical and energy systems.
But CJEF is not and will not be the only way we operate with each other. Our people continue to work together almost continuously in different theatres in many ways. The ability to conduct combined military operations remains a fundamental goal. At the moment our armed forces are engaged together in the Levant against Daesh in operations Chammal and Shader as part of the international Coalition. UK personnel have been directly supporting France’s operation Barkhane in the Sahel since 2018 with the deployment of three CH-47 Chinook heavy lift helicopters to Mali. French forces have supported the UK-led NATO enhanced Forward Presence deployment in Estonia and we have both contributed to NATO’s air policing missions. Our Air Forces work together daily to protect our airspace against incursions or terrorist attacks. Our Navies work closely, bilaterally and through NATO, on maritime security in the Northern Atlantic and the High-North. When possible we have coordinated and supported each other’s maritime deployments further afield, in the Gulf and Indo-Pacific, and we are working to develop this further.
Ten years ago we also set out our goal to have, by the early 2020s, the ability to deploy a UK-French integrated carrier strike group incorporating assets owned by both nations. Since then UK ships and personnel have regularly supported deployments by France’s Charles de Gaulle, and the Marine Nationale has supported the Royal Navy’s work to sustain UK carrier operating skills and experience. We look forward to HMS Queen Elizabeth working with Charles de Gaulle next year for the first time and to bringing this cooperation to the new level of mutual support and engagement envisaged in the coming years.
Alongside this continuing military and operational cooperation, we continue to work together to deliver new capabilities and equipment. Ten years ago we agreed to take forward a strategy for the British and French Complex Weapons sector, “One Complex Weapons”, working towards a single European prime contractor, underpinned by a series of joint Complex Weapons projects.
Cooperation on missiles remains at the core of our armament cooperation. In particular:
• the joint Sea Venom anti-surface missile project we anticipated then will soon be entering UK service;
• working with MBDA we have created joint Centres of Excellence on specific technologies in the UK and France reflecting the principle of mutual interdependence, helping us share information more effectively and deliver efficiencies; and
• we have made good progress with the joint concept phase for the flagship Future Cruise/Anti-Ship Weapon (FC/ASW) project and will now be conducting our respective national project scrutiny and approval processes over the winter in advance of a decision on a follow-on joint assessment phase in 2021.
• The depth of our cooperation allows us to share our missiles roadmaps and operational requirements at the earliest stages, with the objectives to examine whether synergies can be found and to analyse whether a future rationalisation of our respective missiles portfolio would be relevant and cost-effective for both parties.
The export mechanisms set in the One Complex Weapons intergovernmental agreement have proven effective and there are options for further works in this domain. Likewise, managing exchange of national sensitive information is an increasingly important element in our cooperation. Hence, we renew today our commitment in addressing any issues that might arise due to their direct impact regarding the programme performance, efficiency and cost. The continuing health of MBDA as the primary European Complex Weapons company testifies to our overall success in this area, and we are now developing a Joint Vision to shape deeper cooperation in the next decade.
Our joint Maritime Mine Counter Measures (MMCM) project has made significant progress in developing a world-leading autonomous mine hunting system. Sea trials conducted on the French and British coasts in 2020 have proved the autonomous vehicles’ capability to hunt sea mines. The production contract will be signed later in November and the first operational capabilities will be delivered in 2022. We also continue to work together on Future Combat Air technology, and are considering the scope to work together in other areas in advance of the next UK-French Summit in 2021.
We also continue to make progress under the Teutates Treaty we signed in 2010 with the delivery of the joint nuclear facility at Valduc in France to model performance of our nuclear warheads and materials to secure their long-term viability, security and safety, supported by a joint Technology Demonstration Centre at Aldermaston.
Ten years on from Lancaster House, our Armed Forces are better able to operate together around the world when we ask them to do so than they have ever been. Now we must take this work forward. We commit to building on the achievements of the first ten years of the Lancaster House accords in the decade to come – including at the UK-France Summit in 2021. Thus, France and the UK will continue to consult each other closely and at all levels on key international defence and security matters. Only the preservation of a deep and ambitious bilateral cooperation will allow our two Nations to provide an appropriate response to the current and future threats and challenges. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
02 Nov 20. Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) Written Ministerial Statement. A Written Ministerial Statement has been laid today in Parliament announcing a change of operating model for the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE).
In 1993 the Ministry of Defence (MOD) entered into a Government owned Contractor operated arrangement with Hunting-BRAE whereby Hunting-BRAE operated the Atomic Weapons Establishment (AWE) on behalf of the Government. In 1999, following a competitive tender, a new 25-year contract was awarded to AWE Management Ltd (AWE ML).
On the 1 July 2019 the MOD triggered the Successor Arrangements clause with AWE ML to consider alternative viable management options ahead of the current contract expiration. Following an in-depth review, the MOD concluded that AWE plc will become an Arms-Length Body, wholly owned by the MOD.
The change in model will remove the current commercial arrangements, enhancing the MOD’s agility in the future management of the UK’s nuclear deterrent, whilst also delivering on core MOD objectives and value for money to the taxpayer.
The decision was taken in order to simplify and further strengthen the relationship between the MOD and AWE plc, enhancing the MOD’s ability to invest in the development of the workforce, technology and infrastructure, and therefore in the future of AWE plc.
The MOD recognises the achievements of everyone involved with AWE and thank AWE ML and its shareholders for their support in stewarding the organisation through crucial phases of delivery and planning. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
Investors Chronicle Comment: Serco – The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has cut short its 25-year contract to develop and maintain warheads for the UK’s Trident nuclear deterrent and will take it back in-house from June next year. Serco currently provides these services as part of the ‘Atomic Weapons Establishment’ (AWE) joint venture with Lockheed Martin (US:LMT) and Jacobs Engineering (US:J). AWE is expected to contribute £17m to the group’s underlying trading profit this year and Serco says despite the contract loss, its profit in 2021 will remain in line with analyst consensus. The shares are down 12 per cent in early trading.
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