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11 Dec 20. British defense secretary says ‘tough choices’ are coming due on spending. Further evidence that Britain’s conventional defense capabilities are in line for a major shakeup has come in a speech given by Defense Secretary Ben Wallace on Dec 11.
Britain’s forces face some difficult decisions over whether to junk capabilities and make cuts in legacy programs as part of a transformation effort made possible by a recent announcement of a major, multi-year budget hike for the Ministry of Defence, Wallace said at a Royal United Services Institute virtual event.
“Some tough choices will still have to be made. But those choices will allow us to invest in new domains, new equipment and new ways of working. … Sometimes it will mean quality over quantity or the good rather than the perfect. Or simply letting go of some capabilities. Too often we cling to sentimentality when we need to explore alternatives,” he said.
Britain’s permanent secretary for the Ministry of Defence, Sir Stephen Lovegrove, used similar language earlier this week.
Giving evidence to the parliamentary Defence committee he signaled the MoD would have to cut legacy programs if it wanted to pivot to more relevant capability in cyber, space, underwater and unmanned and other high tech sectors.
Further details of what goes and what stays on the capability front are expected to emerge over the next few weeks ahead of the publication of a government review integrating defense, foreign, security and development policy expected lateJanuary.
Howard Wheeldon, of Wheeldon Strategic Advisory, said that when the cuts do arrive they will be substantial.
“We could well see some fairly big and very questionable changes being announced that may or may not include medium and heavy-lift air transport capability and one of the two not already contracted armored vehicle programs,” said the consultant.
The British Army already has a major upgrade of its armor forces underway. The ARTEC Boxer 8×8 personnel carrier and the General Dynamics Ajax reconnaissance vehicle are already under contract for production.
As things stand, a program upgrading the Challenger 2 main battle tank goes before MoD’s investment approval officials in the next few days, while a Lockheed Martin upgrade of the Warrior infantry fighting vehicle is planned for production approval in 2021.
“I welcome the planned increase in spending on Royal Navy and maritime equipment plus the various new digital, cyber and space technology programs planned. All this is very positive, but that doesn’t mean we can do away with conventional defense equipment in the manner that I fear is being planned,” said Wheeldon.
The budget increase revealed by Prime Minister Boris Johnson last month adds over £16bn to MoD coffers. That’s an 18 percent rise over the over the next four years, a scale of increase not seen for decades. The budget today stands at some £41.5bn, or $55bn.
Wallace pointed out, though, that the budget settlement, which takes effect in the financial year 2021/22, has done nothing to lift the pressures around the current years spending.
“Tomorrow’s settlement doesn’t relieve our more immediate financial pressures. You don’t get out of a decade of deferrals and underfunding overnight,” he remarked.
Earlier this week reports emerged that the MoD was cutting back on training, temporarily standing down Royal Navy reserves and taking other cost cutting measure to balance the books in the current financial year.
The National Audit Office, the government financial watchdog, has been forecasting for years that Britian’s ten-year, rolling defense-equipment budget is unaffordable to the tune of several billions of Pounds.
That existing funding black hole will need to be fixed as well as the MoD making cuts to legacy programs to give headroom for transformative changes in the procurement of things like spacecraft, future combat aircraft and unmanned vehicles.
Wallace’s RUSI speech painted a grim picture of the ministry he took over as defense secretary nearly 18 months ago.
“The decades of funding deferrals were about to hit the buffers. Bogus efficiencies, savings targets, hollowing out, and the lasting impacts of fighting the Iraq and Afghanistan conflicts are all things that continue to drain away precious resources long after the political leadership that directed them have exited the stage,” he said.
Wallace said the British and others had to adjust their approach to developing exactly how they respond to a changing global security picture where potential adversaries are out-maneuvering the West on equipment and other fronts.
“They are fluid, we are static. They use readiness, innovation and presence, while we remain entirely predictable in our processes and posture,” he said. “In truth they are masters of the sub-threshold while we tie ourselves up in self-imposed risk matrixes, contradictory legal frameworks, and often bureaucratic barriers,” Wallace warned.
The use of a Turkish drone, the Bayraktar TB2, attacking armor and air-defense formations in Syria, Libya and elsewhere and the development of hypersonic weapons by Russia were examples where “we are no longer leading and innovating enough,” he said.
“We are in danger of being prepared only for the big fight that may never come, whilst our adversaries might choose to outflank it even if it does.”
At the same time, Wallace said Britain wouldn’t abandon the idea of “war-fighting at scale” nor the use of armor.
“Old capabilities are not always redundant, just as new technologies aren’t always useful,” the defense secretary said.
Wallace said he had three priorities for the British MoD. “I want to see defense policy that delivers my three priorities for the department, becoming threat-focused, proactive, and sustainable.”
The first step in Britain’s defense reform will be the establishment of a net assessment and challenge function in the ministry.
Called the Secretary of State’s Office of Net Assessment and Challenge (SONAC), it will encompass war gaming, doctrine, red teaming and external academic analysis.
“It will focus and enhance existing efforts, work closely with Defence Intelligence and look across all areas of defense, especially doctrine and the equipment choices we are making,” Wallace said. (Source: Defense News)
11 Dec 20. Leonardo hack targeted commercial, military component unit – police officer. Computers hacked at Italian defence group Leonardo between 2015 and 2017 belonged to a unit that makes components for both commercial and military aircraft, including C27J and ATR turboprop, a police officer working on the case told Reuters.
The officer, who asked not to be identified by name, said police were now looking into the hard disks and laptops seized from one of the people arrested to check what kind of information was stolen and why.
“The data could have been stolen simply to show off hacking skills or to sell information,” the officer said. “Both hypotheses are on the table.”
On Dec. 5 Italian police arrested two people who had worked at Leonardo over their alleged role in hacking 94 computers, 33 of which were at the group’s plant in Pomigliano d’Arco, near Naples.
One of the two people under arrest is Arturo D’Elia, who at the time of the hacking was part of the Leonardo team handling cybersecurity incidents.
In a statement issued on Dec. 5, prosecutors said that 10 gigabyte of data exfiltrated from computers at the Pomigliano plant contained information relating to “accounting management, human resources… and the design of components for civil and military aircraft”.
“The stolen data could be valuable both in terms of industrial copyright and security,” they added.
He has not been charged, prosecutors said.
D’Elia was seeking neither profit nor benefit, his lawyer Damiano Cardiello told Reuters, denying the consultant had stolen military technology data.
The hacking “was a way to show to the company that its IT system was vulnerable,” the lawyer said, adding he had appealed to the so-called Review Court against D’Elia’s arrest.
Asked for a comment, Leonardo repeated that the company’s classified, strategic information was not held on the computers that were breached.
The investigation started in 2017 when Leonardo reported abnormal network traffic to police.
According to LinkedIn, D’Elia served as IT security consultant at NATO’s Communication and Information Agency in Rome between 2010 and 2015.
Leonardo has a cybersecurity division that counts NATO among its customers. (Source: Reuters)
10 Dec 20. U.S. set to sanction Turkey over Russian defense system – sources. The United States is poised to impose sanctions on Turkey over its acquisition last year of Russian S-400 air defense systems, five sources including three U.S. officials told Reuters on Thursday, a move likely to worsen already problematic ties between the two NATO allies.
FILE PHOTO: A view shows a new S-400 “Triumph” surface-to-air missile system after its deployment at a military base outside the town of Gvardeysk near Kaliningrad, Russia March 11, 2019. REUTERS/Vitaly Nevar
The long-anticipated step, which is likely to infuriate Ankara and weigh on Turkey’s relations with the incoming administration of President-elect Joe Biden, is expected to be announced as early as Friday, sources have said.
The sanctions would target Turkey’s Presidency of Defence Industries and its head, Ismail Demir, sources have said. They would be damaging but narrower than the severe scenarios some analysts have outlined.
Two sources familiar with the matter, including a U.S. official speaking on the condition of anonymity, said President Donald Trump had given aides the blessing for the sanctions.
The Turkish lira weakened as much as 1.4% following the news. U.S. sanctions could harm a Turkish economy struggling with a coronavirus-induced slowdown, double-digit inflation and badly depleted foreign reserves.
A senior Turkish official said sanctions would backfire and hurt ties between the two NATO members.
“Sanctions would not achieve a result but be counter-productive. They would harm relations,” the official said. “Turkey is in favor of solving these problems with diplomacy and negotiations. We won’t accept one-sided impositions,” he said.
The decision will have repercussions far beyond Turkey, sending a message to U.S. partners around the world that might consider buying Russian military equipment and have been warned repeatedly about U.S. sanctions.
Turkey’s leader, President Tayyip Erdogan, had hoped to prove U.S. threats hollow, betting the relationship he developed with Trump would insulate Ankara from punitive U.S. action.
Having forged a working relationship with Erdogan, Trump long opposed U.S. sanctions against Turkey despite the advice of advisers. Officials in his administration internally recommended sanctions against Ankara in July 2019, when the Turkish government started taking delivery of the S-400s, sources familiar with the matter told Reuters.
But sanctions appeared likely even if Trump did not act, the sources said.
The final version of the $740bn annual U.S. defense authorization legislation, which the Senate is expected to vote on as early as this week, would force Washington to impose sanctions within 30 days.
One of the U.S. officials said one of the reasons Trump was finally willing to move ahead with Turkey sanctions was to “decouple” the issue from NDAA bill, which carries a provision that would require him to impose measures on Ankara. This way, Trump can avoid looking like his hand is being forced, the official said.
KICKED OUT OF F-35 PROGRAM
Still, the increasing U.S. pressure is not without risk. Washington does not want to push Erdogan even closer to Russian President Vladimir Putin, whose goal is to weaken and divide the NATO alliance.
Russia delivered the ground-to-air S-400s last year and Turkey tested them as recently as October. Ankara said they would not be integrated into NATO systems and pose no threat, and has called for a joint working group on the issue.
But the United States maintained that the S-400 does pose a threat, and announced last year it was removing Turkey from the F-35 fighter jet program over Ankara’s decision.
Lockheed Martin’s F-35 stealth fighter jet is the most advanced aircraft in the U.S. arsenal and is used by NATO members and other U.S. allies.
The U.S. State Department could still change plans and widen or narrow the scope of planned sanctions against Turkey.
However, sources said the announcement of the sanctions in their current form was imminent.
U.S. sanctions on Turkey over its purchase of Russian S-400 missile defence systems would backfire and hurt ties between the two NATO members, a senior Turkish official said on Thursday.
“Sanctions would not achieve a result but be counter-productive. They would harm relations,” the official said after four sources said Washington was poised to impose sanctions.
“Turkey is in favour of solving these problems with diplomacy and negotiations. We won’t accept one-sided impositions,” he said.(Source: Reuters)
10 Dec 20. NATO’s Success Depends on Ability to Change As Needed. NATO’s secretary general discussed a wide range of issues facing the alliance, particularly threats from China, and what he expects the alliance to achieve going forward.
Jens Stoltenberg, NATO’s secretary general, today spoke virtually from NATO headquarters in Brussels to the Defense One Outlook 2021, a forum for sharing thoughts and ideas.
“NATO is the most successful alliance in history because we have been able to change when the world is changing,” he said.
To keep pace with a changing world, Stoltenberg said the alliance launched the NATO 2030 project earlier this year.
“NATO 2030 is about how to make sure that NATO continues to change,” he said.
For 40 years, NATO did one thing, and that was to deter the Soviet Union, he said. When the Cold War ended and the Berlin Wall came down, NATO changed its focus to ending the wars in the Balkans and fighting terrorism in the Middle East.
After Russia’s illegal annexation of Crimea and China’s growing military threat, the focus changed again, he added.
In response to these new threats, NATO increased its defense spending and modernization efforts, and those efforts will continue with a 10-year plan embodied in the NATO 2030 project.
Stoltenberg acknowledged policy and political differences in the 30-nation alliance, and he said NATO needs to be able to successfully address those differences.
“There’s no way to hide the differences on a wide range of issues, but then we need to sit down, come together, consult and try to find ways forward despite our differences,” he said.
“My message to the United States is that it’s a great advantage for the United States to have 29 friends and allies, especially as the United States and the world addresses the security implications of a growing China,” he added.
He said the alliance — along with Japan, South Korea, Australia, New Zealand and other partners — looks with alarm as China is making its presence felt in the South China Sea, the Arctic, Africa and cyberspace through foreign investments and in building out a vulnerable 5G network that it’s looking to export.
At last year’s NATO summit, the alliance for the first time decided to put discussions about how to deal with threats coming China on the agenda, he said.
Russia is also a growing concern. “In the last decade or so, we’ve seen that Russia gradually has undermined and violated the INF Treaty,” he said, referring to the Intermediate-Range Nuclear Forces Treaty.
Despite the demise of that treaty, the alliance is working to strengthen arms control — not only with Russia, but also with China, he said.
Regarding Afghanistan, the secretary general said the alliance must weigh the risks of leaving too quickly without satisfactory negotiations with the Taliban and the Afghan government.
“It would be a great tragedy if the terrorist caliphate they lost in Iraq and Syria then reemerges in Afghanistan,” he said.
“No one wants to stay in Afghanistan longer than necessary. But at the same time, we realize that if we leave too soon, we may pay a very high price,” he warned.
Regarding the Arctic, the secretary general said NATO is heavily involved there, with many of the important NATO military bases located there or nearby.
“NATO allies have over the last two years invested heavily in new capabilities that operate in the Arctic: maritime patrol aircrafts, new frigates, new fighter jets and so on. All those capabilities are important for NATO presence in the Arctic,” he said.
NATO also hosted the recent Trident Juncture exercise in the Arctic area, he added
The alliance is also working to reduce tensions with Russia in the Arctic, he said, noting that Russia is a member of the Arctic Council and the Barents Euro-Arctic Council, along with northern NATO nations.
On a different topic, Stoltenberg said: “I very much look forward to working with Joe Biden when he becomes the president. I know him as a very strong supporter of the trans-Atlantic bond, and he knows NATO very well through his time as vice president and also as the chairman of the Senate Foreign Relations Committee.” (Source: US DoD)
08 Dec 20. Federal Ministry of Defense Submits Report on Armaments and Matériel Readiness. The Federal Ministry of Defense has submitted the 12th Armaments Report and the report on the material readiness of the main weapon systems of the Bundeswehr II / 2020. The two documents are intended to inform the public and parliament.
The 12th armaments report
The 12th report of the Federal Ministry of Defense on armaments shows that, despite the difficult times of the pandemic, noticeable improvements have been made in the modernization and equipment of the Bundeswehr. The Federal Ministry of Defense has made continuous, albeit slow, progress in armaments projects and procurement.
The Bundeswehr is to be optimally equipped by 2032. Therefore, the challenge of modernizing the Bundeswehr’s equipment continues unabated, according to the armaments report. This not only requires a high-performing armaments division and reliable industrial partners. Adequate funding, with a reliable and steadily increasing defense budget, is also necessary in order to be able to provide the required capabilities that have been promised to our partners.
Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer has called for a budget for the Bundeswehr that is based on these requirements. The 2021 defense budget envisages spending of around 46.8bn euros. The budget target is around 1.2bn euros above the 2020 budget.
In September 2019, the minister decided to optimize procurement so that the equipment could reach the soldiers of the Bundeswehr more easily and more quickly. Not the one big, comprehensive reform, but many small but important improvement steps should lead to the goal.
In the case of military procurement, the volume of expenditure in 2021 will increase by around 154m euros compared to the previous year. There are increases in particular in the procurement of vehicles and combat vehicles, field equipment and quartermaster material as well as in the procurement of combat aircraft such as the Eurofighter and the Euro drone.
Specifically, 8.09bn euros are earmarked for military procurement in the 2021 budget, 4.53bn euros for equipment maintenance and 1.65bn euros for research, development and testing.
The budget committee of the German Bundestag had approved 23 budget proposals of over 25m euros each as of October 31 of this year. This corresponds to a financial volume of 18.1bn euros. The Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr concluded 8,860 procurement contracts by October 31.
The implementation of the program should also bring noticeable improvements for the Bundeswehr. In this context, the Inspector General of the Bundeswehr, General Eberhard Zorn, approved the use of the specialist strategy in July 2020. Their contents are designed using a technical concept for use. The 30-day inventory of spare and replacement parts is currently being gradually built up, by 2023. The planning focus remains on regaining the skills that the Bundeswehr needs for national and alliance defense. The armaments report expressly refers to this.
The General Zorn stated about the Bundeswehr’s operational readiness: “The Bundeswehr is ready for action and a reliable partner.” It fulfills the orders and requirements placed on it at all times and without restriction. “Even if we still live on the substance in some areas,” says Zorn. Operational readiness is the yardstick by which the Bundeswehr is measured. That is why the General Inspector continues to focus on increasing the troop’s available material inventory.
The operational readiness initiative launched by Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer at the beginning of this year is showing initial results. In this context, more than 25 individual measures were developed, closely coordinated with the inspectors of the military services, the presidents of the Federal Offices for Equipment, Information Technology and Use (BAAINBw Federal Office for Equipment, Information Technology and Use of the Bundeswehr), Infrastructure, Environmental Protection and Services (BAIUDBw ) as well as the personnel management of the Bundeswehr (BAPersBwBundesamt) and the department heads of the Federal Ministry of Defense.
This already brought noticeable improvements. The material readiness for use of all 69 main weapons systems of the Federal Armed Forces has increased again in the past six months and is on average now at 74 percent. The target value of 70 percent material deployment was exceeded for 41 major weapon systems, but 12 were however lower than 50 percent, the report said.
Examples of positive development
Examples of a positive development are the Eurofighter, with over 66 percent; the A400M with 45 percent and the armored vehicles of the armed forces base with a material readiness of between 75 and 85 percent. According to the report, however, the sometimes serious differences in material operational readiness between the individual weapon systems are still unsatisfactory. For example, they are over 90 percent for brand new, unprotected trucks – but only just under 40 percent for helicopters.
The aim of the operational readiness initiative is to consistently continue on the path taken in 2021 and to make the abundance of measures tangible for every member of the Bundeswehr.
The Inspector General emphasizes: “The vast majority of the main weapon systems continue to run stably and have good material operational readiness. The improvements introduced by the procurement organization task force, the use of the agenda and the material trend reversal are taking effect. ”
Proof of the capabilities of the Bundeswehr
The Inspector General cites administrative assistance in the event of a pandemic as proof of the capabilities of the Bundeswehr. The Bundeswehr reacted quickly and with great agility from the start and again demonstrated its efficiency with the appropriate support from the federal and state governments. The Bundeswehr is where it is needed.
Readiness for action through digitization
One of the lessons of the pandemic is that the Bundeswehr’s previous experience with administrative assistance against COVID-19 underlined that digitization is an essential basis for maintaining operational readiness. “The readiness of the Bundeswehr is – wherever digitization solutions are available – continuously guaranteed,” said Zorn.
Click here for the full report (111 PDF pages), on the German MoD website: 20201208-download-12-bericht-des-bmvg-zu-ruestungsangelegenheiten-data.pdf
(Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/German Ministry of Defense)
09 Dec 20. MoD Comms Team ‘acted as if ‘ blacklisting’ policy existed, official review says. The debate continued when PR Week reported today that, Individuals working in the Ministry of Defence comms team blacklisted a media outlet, contrary to government guidance, after they misinterpreted a comment by their former boss, according to a review commissioned by defence secretary Ben Wallace.
The review was launched in September in response to allegations by news website Declassified UK that the MoD press office had refused to engage with it as part of a policy of blacklisting particular media outlets.
The MoD’s refusal to deal with the site prompted the Council of Europe to issue a ‘media freedom alert’ and Declassified UK to seek legal advice.
This resulted in an apology from the MoD and the commissioning of the review, which was conducted by former Downing Street official spokesperson Tom Kelly and released yesterday.
It stated: “If substantiated, the allegation that a government department, or a section of it, acted in a partisan way would strike at the heart not just of government communications, but the core ethos of the Civil Service itself.”
While the review did not find evidence of a policy of “blacklisting”, it said: “Individuals within the Defence Communications Directorate acted as if there was such a policy and so for Declassified UK the end result was the same: they were not treated in the same way as other media outlets.”
This was “wrong” and “ran counter to both the Civil Service Code and the Communication Guidance”, according to the review.
Media outlet shunned
In July, an officer seconded to the MoD’s comms team suggested that Declassified UK should be included “on a list of organisations which the Department would not engage with, or rarely engage with, because it was not considered a reputable source of news”.
Although the review “found no evidence that such a list exists”, it described how the director of the defence comms directorate “said his department should not waste any time on Declassified because they were a hostile website, rather than a proper news organisation. If they called, he said, they should be told to submit a Freedom of Information request.”
Carl Newns, director of defence comms at the time, left the MoD last month. He told the review that “his comment was not meant to imply that the website should be blacklisted, nor that the principle of blacklisting was in any way acceptable”.
Instead, he meant “that his team should not expend a disproportionate amount of time answering questions from it, given that its audience was relatively small compared to the mainstream media, and that it had a clearly hostile agenda”.
However, the review found that “the rest of the Directorate interpreted his comment as a direction not to engage with Declassified”.
Some subordinates “thought that he had sanctioned a blanket ban and, with the benefit of hindsight, it is understandable that they reached that conclusion”.
The review found it “disturbing” that experienced comms staff did not challenge the direction they thought they had been given.
“It was only when the issue was elevated to a ministerial level that the full implications were seen, understood and acted on,” it said.
The review recommended that MoD comms staff be issued with copies of the Civil Service Code and the Government Communication Service Propriety Guidance. The principles of these documents should be discussed during daily meetings “to ensure that staff both understand the principles themselves and how they apply to their work”.
And the MoD’S chief operating officer should report to ministers every month on the comms team’s performance in “its duty to be impartial both on daily business and in the way in which it has referred cases to the FOI process”.
The review warned that those speaking on behalf of the MoD need to “understand the proper relationship between the State and the media in a democracy”.
Mike Baker, chief operating officer at the MoD, said: “I fully accept the findings of the report, and we are now in the process of taking forward its recommendations. I will ensure this is done at pace.”
Newns did not respond to a request for comment. (Source: PR Week)
08 Dec 20. NATO needs a strategy for emerging and disruptive technologies. The incoming Biden administration is expected to reassert ties with Europe, hoping to leverage America’s allies and partners at NATO in the great power competition with China and Russia. As U.S. and European leaders set their collective agenda at the next NATO summit, a top priority should be establishing a NATO framework for emerging and disruptive technologies (EDT).
For the United States, it is important that the alliance adapt together to defend against algorithms and bots, as much as bullets and bombs. Europe shares this mindset but differs from the United States on key defense tech issues, such as regulation, data, and stakes in national champion companies. To avoid the dangerous transatlantic rifts of the last four years, Brussels and Washington must bridge that gap and forge an alliance approach to EDT.
NATO has acknowledged the need to harness the power of such technologies, but current efforts have produced innovation theater, as opposed to fundamental organizational change. NATO lags behind in critical areas such as 5G, hypersonics, artificial intelligence (AI), unmanned systems, and quantum science.
In the past, NATO has used frameworks to get member states to agree on priorities, dedicate resources, and empower authorities to act. Looking to the next NATO summit, transatlantic leaders should champion an EDT framework built around four practical pillars:
Establishing an organic assessment and coordination capacity at the strategic level. To fulfill its potential as the transatlantic coordinating tool on the security dimensions of EDT, the alliance needs an in-house capability to assess challenges driven by rapidly evolving technologies. It must examine the advantages and vulnerabilities of adversaries and competitors, as well as gaps in NATO’s approach and capabilities. NATO must explore how EDT can be applied to tackle below-threshold threats, enhance defense planning, boost exercises, and support decision-making. Building on ongoing efforts, this should occur at the strategic level of the alliance, fusing civil and military perspectives and data to inform the development and introduction of cutting-edge EDT. It must also include a more robust mechanism for aligning capabilities and gaps across members, key partners, and the European Union. As defense budgets contract amidst the Covid-19 crisis, this approach will maximize return on investment and improve NATO’s strategic edge.
Seeding the market by improving engagement with industry. A strategic assessment function will not be valuable unless industry leaders are engaged and incentivized. NATO needs to connect to the private sector early and often, clearly communicating its priorities and requirements while providing accessible opportunities for industry, including non-traditionals, to readily sell into the alliance. Too often national and international defense organizations do not provide discernable paths to revenue for these companies, artificially limiting their industrial bases. The long lead times for these projects are often unattractive or unfeasible, especially for small companies and start-ups where radical innovation takes place. To remedy this, the alliance should look to the U.S. Department of Defense, which has succeeded in attracting startups and non-traditionals to its ecosystem through rapid awards, proof-of-concept contracts, and matching venture capital funds that start-ups receive.
Enhancing standardization and interoperability by creating a system of systems. To meet the challenges of future warfare, the alliance must be able communicate and operate across militaries, capabilities, and domains. This requires more standardized, secure, and resilient platforms, systems, and infrastructure. NATO needs an EDT strategy for integration, not just innovation. Leading candidates for Biden’s Pentagon team have emphasized this priority, supporting a CJADC2 concept – a “network of networks” to ensure reliable command and control. The alliance should leverage CJADC2 as a better framework for standardization and interoperability, paving the way for more complex joint operations. This requires a change in doctrine and a shift away from platforms to create a system of systems. Going forward, NATO needs this same approach to rapidly develop and deploy emerging defense and dual-use technologies for conventional and hybrid conflicts. This involves placing big, transformative bets on critical technologies, such as unmanned air and maritime systems, artificial intelligence (AI), and hypersonics.
Coordinate with the EU. NATO should better leverage its ability to assign capability and spending targets to encourage its members to innovate. For instance, to complement the 2 percent of GDP defense spending benchmark, NATO could mandate that allies invest a certain portion of that into emerging technologies. It should also rework the 2 percent metric to include civilian investment in dual-use technologies that may fall outside of traditional defense budgets. Where NATO lacks the capacity to enforce these standards, the European Union brings the legislative and budgetary authority to promote them. NATO and the EU should coordinate research and development, provide seed funding toward these targets, and reinforce them with legal tools where possible. NATO and the EU should also initiate a strategic dialogue to address fundamental issues of tech governance and data sharing.
The ability to employ emerging and disruptive technologies more effectively than competitors such as China and Russia will shape the global role of the United States and the transatlantic alliance in the coming decades. NATO has begun to talk the talk, but now it must walk the walk. (Source: Defense News)
08 Dec 20. Macron kicks off French race to build a new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier. French President Emmanuel Macron announced on Dec. 8 that his country’s next aircraft-carrier will be nuclear-powered and should be operational by 2038 in time to replace the Charles de Gaulle, which entered active service in 2001.
The new aircraft carrier is expected to be the biggest warship France has ever built. Florence Parly, the armed forces minister, said in October that the ship, whatever its propulsion, would be designed to deploy the future combat aircraft system (FCAS) and today her ministry confirmed that the vessel would deploy about 30 of these aircraft “which will be bigger than the Rafales.”
The ministry said the ship would be in the 75,000 tonne class (82,673 tons), be around 300 meters long (984 feet) and be able to sail at 27 knots (31 mph), even bigger than the second aircraft carrier that Naval Group was working on in the early 2000s until that program was shelved by the government for lack of money. In comparison, the Charles de Gaulle is 261m (856 feet) long and weighs 42,000 tonnes (46,297 tons) fully loaded. The new ship will have a crew of about 2,000, including the air group.
Speaking at Framatome, France’s principal nuclear-power company headquartered at Le Creusot in the centre of France, Macron announced just four minutes before the end of his 28 minute speech that he had “decided that the future aircraft-carrier which will serve our country and our navy will, like the Charles de Gaulle, be nuclear-propelled.”
It will have two K22 power generators each generating 220 megawatts (hence the 22) derived from the K15 (that generate 150 MW each) that currently power the Charles de Gaulle.
Naval Group, which is the prime contractor for these major ship-building projects, immediately issued a statement hailing the decision, pledging to work with its major industrial partners Chantiers de l’Atlantique, TechnicAtome and Dassault Aviation.
Pierre Eric Pommellet, chairman and CEO of Naval Group, said, “We are delighted with the announcement (…) which will enable France to maintain its position in the very restricted circle of major powers holding a nuclear aircraft carrier.”
Echoing what Macron had said in his speech, Pommellet stressed the importance of projects like this to “ensure the continuity of our skills” and of developing innovative solutions “in the fields of propulsion and high added-value military systems, thus maintaining France’s technological lead and its position as a key geostrategic player.”
Now that the nuclear option has been chosen to power France’s new aircraft carrier, other major decisions will have to be taken, notably concerning the catapults which are a vital part of the project. France has no expertise in this highly specialized technology and so will have to import the catapults from the United States, as it has done for the past 60 years. Those on the Charles de Gaulle are steam-powered, but those on the new aircraft carrier will be electromagnetic.
Naval Group and its partners will now start a two-year preliminary design study, which sources said may use a number of the ideas that had been worked on for the aborted second aircraft carrier. That will be followed by more detailed plans with the development phase expected to finish at the end of 2025 at which point the ministry will order the ship. The design phase up to the end of 2025 is expected to cost some €900m ($1.09bn) of which €117m ($142m) will be spent in 2021. (Source: Defense News)
Naval Group welcomes the decision of the President of the French Republic to launch the studies of a future Aircraft Carrier
The President of the Republic announced the launch of studies for the replacement of the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier by a new nuclear-powered aircraft carrier by 2038. Naval Group is delighted with this decision and will be involved in this historic project with its major industrial partners Chantiers de l’Atlantique, TechnicAtome and Dassault Aviation. Naval Group’s know-how and skills will be fully mobilised to meet the French armed forces’ expectations. The President of the French Republic’s choice is a major boost for the French defence industrial and technological base and the nuclear industry as this project will mobilise several hundred jobs in France, and then several thousand each year in the implementation phase.
Pierre Eric Pommellet, Chairman and CEO of Naval Group said: “We are delighted with the announcement by the President of the French Republic, which will enable France to maintain its position in the very restricted circle of major powers holding a nuclear aircraft carrier. This project will help develop jobs in the defence industrial
and technological base and ensure the continuity of our skills in the current health and economic crisis. Naval Group, its partners and its entire ecosystem will enable the French Navy to benefit from the best naval systems for its flagship. We are committed, as an overall architect, to respond, together with our partners Chantiers de l’Atlantique and TechnicAtome, as well as Dassault Aviation, to the expression of needs of the French general armament directorate (DGA) and the French Alternative Energies and Atomic Energy Commission (CEA). Finally, this project will make it possible to develop innovation in the fields of propulsion and high added-value military systems, thus maintaining France’s technological lead and its position as a key geostrategic player. This is a huge pride for Naval Group to begin the building of the biggest warship France has ever built”.
Naval Group has been contributing for 60 years to the design, construction and maintenance in operational condition of the French aircraft carriers
As the European leader in naval defence, Naval Group has for many decades ensured the technological superiority of the vessels of the French Navy and its international customers. Their operational excellence has been regularly demonstrated.
Among its many accomplishments, Naval Group has contributed to the design, construction and maintenance in operational condition of the three aircraft carriers of the French Navy: the Clémenceau, the Foch and the Charles de Gaulle. These ships have contributed to France’s influence in many conflict areas around the world. Naval Group is one of a very small number of industrial companies capable of building aircraft carriers.
More specifically, Naval Group has also built and integrated, in partnership with the CEA and TechnicAtome, the two nuclear boilers on-board the Charles de Gaulle aircraft carrier, the first French aircraft carrier equipped with nuclear propulsion. This nuclear-powered vessel has proven her reliability and safety. Nuclear propulsion gives this ship a considerable autonomy at sea and a great flexibility of use.
Having entered active service in 2001, the aircraft carrier Charles de Gaulle will be in service until approximately 2038.
Naval Group’s exceptional skills, unique in Europe, will be fully mobilised
Naval Group, as a system integrator and prime contractor for the French Navy’s submarines and surface vessels, has developed advanced and rare skills. Among its expertise, Naval Group has skills in three key areas in particular: the activities of architect and overall prime contractor, of systems integrator of complex naval weapon systems, and concerning nuclear propulsion, the manufacture and assembly of reactors, and the maintenance in operational condition of nuclear boilers.
Naval Group also has unique expertise in Europe in the integration and implementation of an aircraft carrier equipped with catapults and landing brakes as well as her air group. Integrating more than 200,000 pieces of equipment in 2,500 premises, producing more than 10,000 drawings, managing more than 3,000 contracts, and assembling 1,200 km of cables and 300 km of piping require a cutting-edge expertise. This expertise also covers the integration of the combat and navigation systems. Fully interconnected with allies units, the combat system enables to prepare, coordinate and lead the aircraft carrier’s actions and those of the naval aviation group in real time. The combat system also ensures the ship self-defence and the security of internal as well as external communications.
In addition, Naval Group masters the implementation of fighter aviation on aircraft
carriers with catapults and arresting strands. The aircraft is the central element of the aircraft carrier, whose main function is that of a mobile air base capable of operating on all the seas of the globe.
In addition, Naval Group has infrastructures dedicated to these areas of expertise. For nuclear propulsion, for example, there is a test platform for turbo-alternator modules at the Naval Group site in Nantes-Indret. The company also has integration platforms for combat systems and control systems, and a unique tool for simulating flows on the flight deck of aeronautical munitions combined with virtual reality visualization.
The project for the future aircraft carrier guarantees the durability of skills and jobs for the entire French defence industrial and technological base
The development and construction of the new generation aircraft carrier represents an investment of nearly twenty years, from 2021 to 2038. After a sketch phase, Naval Group andits industrial partners will now be in charge of carrying out a two-year preliminary design study, which will be followed by detailed design studies that will finally precede the development and construction of the aircraft carrier, a product of rare complexity.
The nuclear component of the propulsion, the implementation of on-board aviation and the operation of the new-generation aircraft carrier will lead Naval Group to reinforce key skills of engineers, technicians and workers at all Naval Group sites: Lorient, Nantes-Indret, Toulon, Angoulême-Ruelle and Brest, as well as those of its major partners Chantiers de l’Atlantique, TechnicAtome and Dassault Aviation.
07 Dec 20. France’s Macron Defends Arms Sales to Egypt Despite Rights Concerns. French President Emmanuel Macron said on Monday that concerns over human rights violations in Egypt would not affect the future sale of French arms to that country, as Cairo should retain its ability to fight terrorism in the region.
“I will not condition matters of defense and economic cooperation on these disagreements [over human rights],” Macron said at a joint press conference with Egyptian President Abdel-Fattah el-Sissi.
“It is more effective to have a policy of demanding dialogue than a boycott which would only reduce the effectiveness of one of our partners in the fight against terrorism,” he added.
Since 2015, France has sold considerable amounts of weaponry to Egypt, including two French-made Mistral-class helicopter carriers and two dozen French Rafale advanced fighter jets.
Macron has previously voiced concern that Egypt might turn to the West’s rivals, China and Russia, if it did not receive adequate support from Europe.
Woeful human rights record
The comments by the French leader are likely to jar with human rights groups, 20 of which issued a joint statement ahead of Monday’s meeting condemning France’s strategic partnership with Egypt.
Egypt was “abusively using counterterrorist legislation to eradicate the legitimate work in favor of human rights and suppress all peaceful dissent in the country,” the statement said.
Since taking power in a 2013 coup, el-Sissi has been in charge of a massive crackdown, targeting not only Islamist supporters of his freely elected predecessor, Mohamed Morsi, but also pro-democracy activists.
Just days before el-Sissi arrived in France, Egyptian authorities released three workers from the Egyptian Initiative for Personal Rights, who were detained in November following a meeting with diplomats from Western countries. An investigation is still pending into charges of their belonging to a terrorist group and spreading false news.
‘Frank’ talks on rights
At the press conference, Macron welcomed their release and said he had “frankly” raised the issue of human rights with el-Sissi “as one does among friends.”
He also thanked the Egyptian general-turned-president for his support after France was targeted by calls for a boycott in much of the Muslim world when Macron defended the right to make caricatures even if they offended religious sensibilities. His statements backing the liberty to publish such potentially contentious material came after the murder of a French teacher in October who had shown caricatures of the Prophet Muhammad to his class during a course on free expression
El-Sissi was welcomed to Paris on Monday with a cavalry parade.
(defense-aerospace.com EDITOR’S NOTE: The Egyptian president arrived in France on Sunday for a three-day state visit intended to patch up relations after a two-year freeze.
Macron’s position on arms sales to Egypt is a U-turn compared to his previous statements, notably in January 2019 when, during an official visit to Cairo, he criticized local human rights policies, and especially a law enacted by the Egyptian parliament which he said constrained operations by foreign NGOs.
Al-Sisi took this undiplomatic statement as a personal insult, and froze all arms purchases from France, including a follow-on order for additional Rafale fighters.
With Macron now clearly making amends, and rolling out the reddest of red carpets, it is probable that this will clear the way for new arms deals, possibly including the additional Rafales.) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Deutsche Welle German Radio)
07 Dec 20. Signature of the Contract for the Integration of the Spanish Industry in the R&D of the NGWS/FCAS. Last Wednesday, December 2, the award of the industrial contract for the integration of Spanish companies in the rest of the activities of Phase 1A of research, development and technological demonstration of the European Next Generation Weapons System (NGWS / FCAS) was notified.
It is a continuation of the award made last November of the industrial contract for the beginning of the R&D activities of the sensor pillar, led by the company Indra, as part of the Consolidated Implementation Agreement number 2. The latter was signed on October 16 by the Secretaries of State for Defense of Spain, Germany and France.
This contract allows the participation of Spanish companies in the following pillars:
–• Pillar 1 of the New Generation Fighter (NGF), led by Airbus DS SAU;
–• Pillar 2 of the NGF Engine, led by the ITP Aero company:
–• Pillar 3 of the Remote Operators (RC), led by the consortium of companies Satnus (made up of GMV, SENSER and TECNOBIT);
–• Pillar 4 of Combat Cloud, Pillar 5 of Integration Simulators and System of Systems (SoS), and coherence between pillars led by Indra;
–• Pillar 7 of Low Observability Technologies, also commanded by Airbus DS SAU, which is also the international leader.
This contract allows the Spanish industry to participate in each and every one of the ongoing activities of the NGWS / FCAS program and constitutes a fundamental milestone in Spain’s participation in the program.
After going a long way started with the signing of the Letter of Intent at the beginning of 2019, Spain and its Industry are placed at the same level as their counterparts in France and Germany in this important national and continental challenge.
Declared a State program due to its strategic importance, the NGWS / FCAS represents a unique opportunity, not only to ensure the capabilities of the Armed Forces in the long term, but also because of the necessary boost in the technological development of the defense industrial sector, of application to many other productive fields, and so fundamental in the current scenario. The next objective in the NGWS / FCAS program is to finalize the negotiations of the following Phases 1B and 2 for the maturation of technologies and their demonstration, which is expected to take place from mid-2021 to 2027. (Unofficial translation by Defense-Aerospace.com) (Source: defense-aerospace.com/Spanish Ministry of Defence)
08 Dec 20. EDA Ushers in Defence Collaboration Initiatives. “The EU suffers from fragmentation, duplication and insufficient engagement,” stated Jiří Šedivý, chief executive, European Defence Agency (EDA), during his opening address at the organisation’s annual conference, this year being held virtually from Brussels over 3-4 December with the theme Sustaining European Defence. He challenged the conference to debate how change could be achieved.
Benedikt Zimmer, State Secretary, in the German Ministry of Defence reminded delegates that “rules based order and the balance of power in the world was under pressure.” While he called for the nations of the EU to stand together in collective defence, he also noted that NATO remained as the ‘cornerstone of collective defence.”
There were advantages that both organisations could offer, explained Zimmer, and the recognition and implementation of collective goals would be advantageous to both organisations. He called for EU member states to be clearer regarding their intentions and objectives adding that this also required “more transparency between partners.”
Zimmer praised the way that European nations had worked together collectively in the fact of the COVID pandemic and added that this had resulted in a positive perception of what could be achieved collectively.
He praised the establishment of the EDA’s Permanent Structured Cooperation (PESCO) policy, adopted in March 2018, as well as initiatives including Coordinated Annual Defence Review (CARD), the Capability Development Plan (CDP) and the European Defence Fund (EDF). Zimmer said that work on all of these areas needed to be done quickly not only to meet ambitious objectives set for 2021-26, but to improve European strategic planning and to close European capability gaps.
One view from the EDA’s periphery was provided by Jukka Juusti, permanent secretary at Finland’s Ministry of Defence and chair of the Security Committee during a panel discussion on ‘Delivering on military effectiveness: from priorities to implementation’ . He highlighted the fact that “regional differences and strategic differences” needed to be recognised. He used Finland as an example, saying that its long border with Russia meant that national defence solutions were often more appropriate that ones coming out of the industry clusters in Europe.
Juusti called for greater resilience within the EU and suggested that the CDP was a good step forward and needed to develop defence industry ‘tools’ that would support national development capabilities. Pointing to specific projects, he underscored the need for “a collaborative approach” to defence in space and other areas such as countering unmanned aerial systems (C-UAS).
The drive to improvement of the EDA and its member states may well be driven by the results of the CARD findings, published in November 2020. This provides for the first time an EU vision of defence and the opportunities for capability collaboration in key focus areas. These have been identified as: main battle tank; soldier systems, European patrol class surface ships; counter UAS/ anti access/area denial; space defence; and military mobility. (Source: Armada)
07 Dec 20. Radical shake up to government export finance support for small businesses. UKEF launches the General Export Facility in partnership with UK’s leading commercial banks.
- New scheme to give exporting SMEs access to working capital they need to recover from COVID-19
- Government can provide an 80% guarantee on financial support from lenders to support general exporting costs, up to the value of £25m
- GEF will transform UKEF’s offer to smaller businesses, encouraging them to export and take advantage of new free trade agreements
UK Export Finance (UKEF) today launches a new guarantee scheme that will free up funds for UK businesses to cover the costs of international trade, supporting thousands of jobs and livelihoods across the country.
Exporters will be able to apply for finance from the UK’s five largest banks backed by a UKEF guarantee to free up working capital that can be used for everyday costs linked to exports and to scale up their business operations. This will help thousands of businesses, particularly SMEs, to fulfil multiple export contracts, pay for labour costs, build their inventory and ease cash flow constraints.
Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, will launch the General Export Facility (GEF) in a speech at UKEF’s ‘Trade and Export Finance Forum’. He will announce that the government is shaking up the support it provides for internationally focused companies to help bring new trading opportunities to businesses in every part of the country.
Minister for Exports, Graham Stuart, will say, “UKEF’s support for smaller businesses is shifting up a gear. The new General Export Facility will make a huge difference for entrepreneurs who need the financial backing to go global and benefit from our free trade agreements. It will help us bring genuine optimism back to exporters. We were the only top ten exporting nation to grow exports last year. I’m determined for that success to continue as we recover from Covid-19. By transforming access to the world’s best export credit agency, we can unlock the entrepreneurial energy needed to make that a reality.”
Financial support can be directly accessed from HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Natwest, Santander and Barclays, the major providers of trade finance in the country, which can put in place UKEF’s guarantee automatically.
Other lenders will be added to the facility in due course to ensure that it is available for as many businesses as possible.
Commenting on the scheme, Managing Director of UK Finance, Stephen Pegge, said, “Supporting British exporters at this time is vital, which is why UK Finance and five of the main export lenders have been working closely with UKEF on the development of this new guarantee scheme. We expect business to apply from the new year as the General Export Facility enables lenders to support an even wider range of small and medium-sized firms, giving businesses the confidence to win new contracts by having an agreed revolving facility in place.”
General Export Facility Features
GEF was developed in partnership with the banking and finance industry to support a range of trade finance products including trade loans, bonds, letter of credit lines, CapEx and invoice financing.
The facility enables UKEF to provide a partial guarantee to lenders of up to 80% of the credit risk on facilities typically worth up to £25m, with UKEF’s support no longer tied to individual export contracts. This follows the recent launch of the Export Development Guarantee in July, a guarantee scheme that supports high value investment by major UK exporters.
UKEF has more than doubled the amount that HSBC, Lloyds Bank, Natwest, Santander and Barclays can automatically administer to an exporter through its facilities from £2m to £5m. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
05 Dec 20. Italian police arrest two over hacking at defence group Leonardo. Police arrested two people on Saturday who have worked at Leonardo for their alleged role in hacking the Italian defence group’s computers to steal sensitive information between 2015 and 2017, prosecutors in the southern city of Naples said.
The detentions are a blow for Leonardo which, along with its aerospace activities, also has a large cybersecurity division that counts NATO among its customers.
Leonardo said in a statement it was the injured party and that the company itself had first reported the hacking. It said it would continue to cooperate fully with the police.
Naples prosecutors said a former employee in Leonardo’s cybersecurity department was suspected of having used malware to infect 94 computers to extract “classified information of significant value to the company”.
The information was stolen for “illicit goals which are still being investigated”, they said in a statement, adding that the person in question had been detained by police.
Leonardo said the suspect was a consultant, not a company employee. It also said the company’s classified, strategic information was not held on the computers that were violated.
The head of Leonardo’s Cyber Emergency Readiness Team – set up to defend the company from hacking attacks – was placed under house arrest for allegedly meddling with evidence to throw the investigations off track, the prosecutors said.
Leonardo said this suspect was an employee but not a manager. (Source: Reuters)
Founded in 1987, Exensor Technology is a world leading supplier of Networked Unattended Ground Sensor (UGS) Systems providing tailored sensor solutions to customers all over the world. From our Headquarters in Lund Sweden, our centre of expertise in Network Communications at Communications Research Lab in Kalmar Sweden and our Production site outside of Basingstoke UK, we design, develop and produce latest state of the art rugged UGS solutions at the highest quality to meet the most stringent demands of our customers. Our systems are in operation and used in a wide number of Military as well as Home land Security applications worldwide. The modular nature of the system ensures any external sensor can be integrated, providing the user with a fully meshed “silent” network capable of self-healing. Exensor Technology will continue to lead the field in UGS technology, provide our customers with excellent customer service and a bespoke package able to meet every need. A CNIM Group Company