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12 Nov 20. Austrian Court Confirms End to Eurofighter Fraud Investigation. Vienna prosecutors upheld a decision to end a criminal probe into alleged fraud by aviation and defense group Airbus and Eurofighter in connection with a $2bn (€1.7bn) fighter jet purchase in 2003, the counsel for Austria said Wednesday evening.
A criminal complaint brought by Austria’s Defense Ministry in 2017 prompted the investigation.
A lower court ordered an end to the probe in April, which the appeals court supported on the grounds that Austria had not provided enough of its own evidence after spending three and a half years investigating for fraud, the office of Austria’s chief legal counsel Wolfgang Peschorn said in a statement.
“With that, all criminal investigations in Austria that were initiated as a result of the criminal complaint in 2017 on suspicion of fraud in connection with the Eurofighter purchase have now been brought to an end, ” the statement said of the court ruling dated November 4 and [released] a week later.
While Peschorn said the ruling must be accepted, he disapproved that it runs counter to decisions by German and US legal authorities.
APA: Das OLG Wien hat die Beschwerden wegen des Verdachts des Betrugs bei der Beschaffung der Eurofighter 2003 und beim sogenannten Vergleich 2007 durch das Landesgericht für Strafsachen zurückgewiesen. Damit sind alle strafrechtlichen Ermittlungen beendet. #Bundesheer
— Michael Bauer (@Bundesheerbauer) November 11, 2020
Austrian defense ministry spokesman Michael Bauer tweeted that “The Vienna Higher Regional Court has rejected the complaints on suspicion of fraud in the procurement of the Eurofighter 2003 and the so-called settlement 2007 by the regional court for criminal matters. This ends all criminal investigations.
The ruling is a blow to Defense Minister Klaudia Tanner, who had threatened a lawsuit against Airbus, which holds a major stake in the Eurofighter company.
Tanner had also threatened to reverse the acquisition of Austria’s 15 Eurofighter jets, on suspicions that the government paid €183 million too much — as kickbacks to middlemen were priced into the contract.
Austria’s 2017 complaint against Airbus and the Eurofighter consortium alleged they had misled it about the price, deliverability and features of the jets.
In February, Airbus was ordered in Germany to pay $81.25m in penalties for dubious money flows related to the Austrian aircraft deal.
In January, Airbus announced it had agreed to settle corruption investigations probes in the US, France and the UK, resulting in total penalties of just under €3.6n. The Vienna appeals court has not yet commented on the ruling.
(defense-aerospace.com/EDITOR’S NOTE: Reuters reported late Wednesday that “When the lower court ordered an end to the investigation in April, a court spokeswoman said that did not affect a broader criminal probe into suspected bribery in connection with the same deal, which has been underway since 2011.”) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Deutsche Welle German radio)
12 Nov 20. Typhoon delivers a further boost to the UK economy. BAE Systems has been awarded a £1.3bn order to support the production of 38 Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft for the German Air Force.
Work will commence in 2021 at BAE Systems’ sites in Lancashire, maintaining continuity of Typhoon production through to the mid-2020s and sustaining high-value engineering roles in the North of England. These critical jobs are a key element of securing the UK’s sovereign skills and capabilities which are central to realising the Government’s future combat air ambitions.
More than 5,000 BAE Systems employees directly support the Typhoon programme in the UK, supporting a further 10,000 jobs in the UK economy as a whole.
The Eurofighter Typhoon is the most advanced multi-role combat aircraft in operation, supporting European security and defence objectives.
BAE Systems will deliver more than a third of the components for each of the new Typhoons ordered by the German Air Force including the aircraft’s front fuselage and tail. Final assembly will be undertaken by Airbus in Manching, Germany.
The new aircraft will join the existing German Air Force Typhoon fleet from the mid-2020s and will be equipped with the latest technology, including an advanced electronically-scanning radar.
Charles Woodburn, Chief Executive BAE Systems, said, “Germany’s decision to purchase additional Typhoons reinforces the aircraft’s position as one of the world’s most successful combat military aircraft. The Typhoon programme makes a significant contribution to the UK economy, generating billions of pounds through exports and supporting more than 15,000 jobs across the UK including thousands of highly skilled roles in the North of England.”
The combat air sector delivers £6bn of revenue to the UK every year and is responsible for 87% of the nation’s defence exports, a significant proportion of which comes from Typhoon. Few areas of Government spending deliver such impactful economic returns – export sales of Typhoon have already returned more than double the UK Government’s £12 billion investment in the programme to the UK economy.
The Typhoon programme will also help to drive innovation as the Company develops the technology required to deliver the next generation of combat air capabilities. For example, BAE Systems engineers are now producing 3D printed components for Typhoon, including the Environmental Cooling System which will be used to cool the next generation radar.
The order was awarded to BAE Systems by Eurofighter Jagdflugzeug GmbH, the consortium which represents the core nations’ industrial partners comprising Airbus, BAE Systems and Leonardo.
Eurofighter Typhoon underpins the UK’s strategically important international relationships and is in operational service with seven nations – Germany, Italy, Spain, the UK, Austria, Oman and Saudi Arabia – with production orders underway for Kuwait and Qatar.
- A report published by Oxford Economics demonstrated that the impact of our UK military aircraft business reaches far beyond its own operations. For every 100 jobs at BAE Systems, we support a total of 400 jobs are supported in the UK as a whole. The impact of the BAE Systems military aircraft business on the UK economy.
11 Nov 20. Covid-19: UK troops deploy to Liverpool for mass testing operation. Some 2,000 British Army troops have been deployed to Liverpool in northwest England to kick off a pilot programme to test the city’s 500,000 inhabitants for Covid-19.
About 2,000 British troops arrived at Pontins Southport on the outskirts of Liverpool on 5 November to help test the city’s residents and workers for Covid-19. (Crown copyright)
The operation, commanded by the headquarters of 8 Engineer Brigade, began on 6 November when the first test centre opened in the city. Eventually about 50 sites will be open across the city for two weeks to test citizens who do not show symptoms of the virus with newly developed lateral flow test equipment. This will assess the effectiveness of the mass testing technology ahead of a national roll-out, codenamed Project Moonshot by UK Prime Minister Boris Johnson.
Assigned to 8 Brigade for the duration are four units: 1st Battalion, Yorkshire Regiment; 1st Battalion, The Irish Guards; 19 Regiment Royal Artillery; and the King’s Royal Hussars. More than a dozen smaller units are also assigned to the operation, including a squadron of the Royal Logistic Corps with MAN trucks to move the equipment needed to establish the test sites. (Source: Jane’s)
11 Nov 20. U.K. Government’s ECJU Issues Notice to Exporters 2020/15 on Contacting the MOD Team. The U.K. Government’s Export Control Joint Unit (ECJU) has issued Notice to Exporters 2020/15 on contacting the MOD Team within the ECJU. With immediate effect all requests from exporters for open general export licence (OGEL) approval letters, Crown Exemption letters and all enquiries of a general nature about MOD Form 680 applications should only be sent to: ECJU-MODTeam@mod.gov.uk Enquiries will be acknowledged and actioned by a named Desk Officer in the MOD Team. There are 3 types of OGEL that require UK exporters to obtain an approval letter from the MOD. These are: UK government defence contracts, military goods collaborative Project Typhoon, and military goods collaborative project A400M. If exporters continue to encounter difficulties in contacting the MOD Team, they should telephone the ECJU Helpline on 020 7215 4594. (Source: glstrade.com)
10 Nov 20. NATO faces existential threat if it can’t reach younger generations, report warns. In Brussels Monday, NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg kicked off an all-day NATO 2030 Youth Summit aimed at injecting interest in the alliance into millennial and Generation Z future leaders.
“You — tomorrow’s leaders, both in North America and Europe — have the greatest stake in our security, so NATO 2030 is the chance for you to step up and safeguard your future, your freedom, your Alliance,” Stoltenberg said in his opening comments.
But a new report from the Center for European Policy Analysis think tank argues that NATO has not done enough to activate interest in younger European leaders — and that the alliance faces an existential threat if it can’t turn that around.
“We need to recognize there is a whole new generation of post-Cold War citizens of the alliance who have grown up in an entirely different environment, and they are already beginning to take up roles in national government, and they have a different set of priorities that are more in line with future threats,” the author of the report, Lauren Speranza, told Defense News.
“If NATO doesn’t bring them into the fold now, we risk this scenario in which NATO is viewed as outdated and doesn’t have the buy-in of a next generation of political leaders, and at that points risks retirement.”
Speranza offered three key areas where the alliance should step up its focus in order to make sure NATO is relevant to that post-Cold War cohort.
The first is a focus on the nontraditional threats that are well below the Article 5 designation, an area that “has impact on the everyday lives of millennials and Gen Z in a way that it doesn’t current policy makers,” per Speranza. A more proactive effort in that regard (something NATO has begun doing in recent years) would help attract interest in a way that a focus on Article 5, which refers to the alliance’s collective defense clause, may not, she said.
The second is a need to develop a technology and innovation agenda. The private tech industry is always in competition with the defense sector for young talent, and often wins, but NATO also lags behind the Pentagon and the European Union in how it recruits and offers interesting challenges for younger technology experts.
The third area also dovetails with statements from NATO leadership that it needs to figure out how to relate to China, and what role the alliance may play in the Pacific.
There are a lot of next-gen leaders with an interest in Asia, so bringing them in to help inform how partnerships with Asian nations could happen is a good way to benefit both sides,” Speranza said. “It’s not about tearing up the current NATO agenda. It’s about finding ways to communicate those priorities with ways that resonate with next-gen leaders.”
The next-gen summit itself serves as a perfect example of the internal challenges Speranza sees at alliance headquarters. The effort is billed as a way to bring younger voices into NATO at a time when the alliance is undergoing a major review of its future, dubbed NATO 2030, and alliance leadership has announced plans to stand up a Young Leaders group in parallel to the review – all good moves, on paper.
But, Speranza says, “in an ideal world, we would just put a few next-gen representatives on the main Reflection Group instead of running a parallel process.”
“Oftentimes the next generation wants to be consulted but they get very few opportunities, and it’s always under this next-gen label; they don’t get to sit at the adults table or get to actually work shoulder to shoulder. By maintaining this divide, we do the Alliance a disservice.” (Source: Defense News)
10 Nov 20. Polish leader signs deal increasing US troop presence. Polish President Andrzej Duda has signed a deal that enhances U.S. military presence in the central European country, and said it should be a symbol of a partnership that continues regardless of political developments.
Poland’s right-wing leadership has had close ties with the administration of President Donald Trump, signing defense and energy deals.
Duda indicated Monday he would like the partnership to continue under the new administration.
“I believe that our partnership is above political divisions,” Duda said during the ratification ceremony at the Presidential Palace.
“We are waiting for the new U.S. president to take office,” Duda said.
The Enhanced Defense Cooperation Agreement that he ratified raises the number of U.S. troops in Poland to some 5,500 and moves the U.S. Army V Corps overseas headquarters to Poland from Forth Knox, Kentucky. It strengthens the U.S. defense presence in central and Eastern Europe at a time of increased Russian military activity. Trump decided on the move last year, when he was reducing troop numbers in Germany. (Source: Defense News)
10 Nov 20. Royal Navy monitors Russian ships in UK waters. The Royal Navy has kept close watch on two Russian ships operating off the east coast of Scotland.
Patrol ship HMS Tyne has been monitoring the actions of intelligence-gathering vessel Viktor Leonov and her supporting tanker Sergey Osipov which have been sailing around the Moray Firth.
The Portsmouth-based warship’s tasking falls under Defence Task One – protecting the territorial integrity of the United Kingdom.
In that role she has been observing the Russian vessels as they sheltered from Storm Aiden and carried out replenishment operations, before the Osipov left UK waters.
“It was apparent these two ships were making use of the shelter from the high winds and inclement seas of Storm Aiden, and Tyne remained close by to monitor their activity,” said Lieutenant Justin Shirtcliff, the ship’s operations officer.
“HMS Tyne and her sailors remain ready for short-notice tasking, whatever the weather, wherever the task.”
It’s the third time in a month that the patrol ship has shadowed foreign warships in home waters – partly in conjunction with NATO allies.
Tyne shadowed a group of Russian warships including corvette Vasily Bykov, a Kilo-class submarine and their accompanying support vessel, an ocean going tug.
She was assisted by Portuguese frigate NRP Corte Real from NATO’s Standing Maritime Group 1, which ensured constant surveillance of the Russian units as they moved through UK waters.
Having handed over monitoring duties to the UK’s allies, Tyne headed south to observe another Russian unit, the Smolny, a cadet training ship, as it transited through UK waters.
In addition to monitoring duties, Tyne has also conducted her regular duties safeguarding the UK’s fishing stock by checking hauls of vessels encountered off the east coast of the UK.
“Tyne has once again shown the adaptability of the Royal Navy’s offshore patrol vessels and their crews. We have quickly changed tasks from monitoring foreign warships to conducting boarding operations to protect our fisheries,” said Lieutenant Commander Richard Skelton, Tyne’s Commanding Officer.
“I am proud of the hard work from the ship’s company that has made this possible.” (Source: Royal Navy)
10 Nov 20. Falklands finally landmine free thanks to UK-funded team. A UK-funded programme which started in 2009 has completed its dangerous mission to de-mine the Falkland Islands three years ahead of schedule.
The Falkland Islands are now finally free of lethal minefields almost 40 years after the end of the conflict during which thousands of exploding devices were laid.
A UK-funded programme which started in 2009 has completed its dangerous mission to de-mine the islands in the South Atlantic three years ahead of schedule.
The removal of the mines laid during the 1982 conflict with Argentina means the UK has now met its obligations set by the Anti-Personnel Mine Ban Convention.
As a result the warning signs and fences that have been a feature on the islands since the end of the conflict will be removed during a local event. The removal of the last mine means there are no anti-personnel mines on British soil anywhere in the world.
Islanders will mark the moment with the detonation of the final mine and the cutting down of fences which will finally re-open their access to beaches. Games of cricket and football will be played on the beach itself, to enjoy unrestricted access.
Minister Wendy Morton, UK Minister with responsibility for the Falklands, said, “This is a huge achievement for the Islands and we must pay tribute to the brilliant team of deminers who put their lives at risk day to day removing and destroying landmines to make the Falklands safe.
Our commitment to ridding the world of fatal land mines does not end with our territories being mine free. A further £36m of UK funding will allow demining projects across the world to continue, protecting innocent civilian lives.”
The demining team from Zimbabwe, with supervising staff from British companies SafeLane Global and Fenix Insight had to struggle with the islands’ challenging physical conditions, often working in remote locations and through the unpredictable and sometimes extreme Falklands weather, to achieve the goal to rid the Falklands of mines.
The UK is one of the world’s leading forces in ridding the world of mines. An additional £36m of funding has therefore been given to the UK-funded Global Mine Action Programme 2, bringing the total to £124m, to continue demining projects in Africa, the Middle East and Asia. This recognises that landmines continue to cause harm and damage lives, many years after conflicts are over.
- The Falklands will be officially declared landmine free on the 14 November in a local celebration. There will also be an official celebration hosted by the UK at Government House on the 17 November, where the deminers will be presented with certificates signed by Minister Morton.
- Countries benefitting from the additional £36m of funding under the Global Mine Action Programme 2 are Afghanistan, Angola, Cambodia, Iraq, Laos, Lebanon, Myanmar, Somalia, Sudan, South Sudan, Sri Lanka, Vietnam, Yemen, and Zimbabwe.
- GMAP2, which started in 2018, addresses the threat posed by landmines and other explosive remnants of war. By June 2020 it had cleared and confirmed safe the equivalent of 28,800 football pitches of mines and delivered mine risk education to over 2 million people. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
09 Nov 20. EU to Impose Tariffs on US Goods Over Boeing Dispute. European Commission Executive Vice President Valdis Dombrovkis said on Monday that the EU will push ahead with plans to impose tariffs worth up to $4bn (€3.37bn) on an array of US imports. The tariffs come in retaliation to the US awarding illegal state aid to the airplane manufacturer Boeing. “The US has imposed tariffs following the WTO ruling in the Airbus case. Now, we have a WTO ruling also in our Boeing case, allowing us to impose our tariffs and that’s what we are doing,” the EU official said. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Deutsche Welle German Radio)
09 Nov 20. The postponement of the UK’s Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review and delay to the multi-year Comprehensive Spending Review (CSR) is not only delaying a substantial re-evaluation of the UK’s role in the world, but is also likely to cause serious delays to equipment procurement projects, and significant cost increases to some of those already in progress.
The Integrated Security, Defence and Foreign Policy Review, announced on 19 December 2019 during the Queen’s Speech was to have been “the most radical reassessment of [the UK’s] place in the world since the end of the Cold War.” It was to have been far more comprehensive and inclusive than either of the Strategic Defence and Security Reviews of 2010 and 2015. However, the impact on Government spending caused by the COVID-19 pandemic and also the effects of Brexit at the end of 2020 and both likely to impact short term defence planning and spending, although holding to a NATO commitment to spend at least two percent of GDP on defence remains.
In a Royal United Services Institute (RUSI) report entitled A Reckoning Postponed? The Defence Arithmetic of the Integrated Review, author and deputy director general Malcolm Chalmers warns that major procurement programmes planned for the next decade, such as the Future Combat Air System and the Future Nuclear Warhead System, need budget commitment over the next five years if they are to be in operational service before 2040.
According to Chalmers: “There will be a temptation to delay key decisions on these two programmes until the Integrated Review that follows the next general election. But this would risk an extended period of planning blight, in which capabilities atrophy and timetables for deployment of the resulting systems slip into the 2040s.”
The pressure to cut defence budgets will be large over the short term, particularly post-COVID, but numerous commentators are now underlining the importance in early investment in major projects so as to avoid significant problems to defence contracts in years to come as a result. Chalmers warns, “Their technological complexity, together with the changing nature of requirements over time, typically leads to large increases in costs over initial estimates, as well as significant delays.”(Source: Armada)
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