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01 May 21. Germany, France, Spain aim for fighter jet agreement next week. Disagreements over intellectual property rights mean Germany, France and Spain have yet to agree the next steps for a joint fighter jet project, the defence ministry in Berlin said on Saturday after a deadline to find a solution ran out. Last week, the defence ministers of Germany and France set an end-April deadline to broker a deal over the Future Combat Air System (FCAS), Europe’s largest defence project.
“No agreement over the use of the intellectual property rights has been found yet,” a ministry spokeswoman said. “For Germany, unrestricted access to the results of the jointly financed research is of utmost importance.”
The countries were aiming for an agreement next week, she added.
Costing more than 100bn euros ($120bn), the development of the jet brings together Germany, France and Spain. Dassault Aviation (AVMD.PA), Airbus (AVMD.PA) and Indra (IDR.MC) are involved in the scheme to start replacing France’s Rafale and German and Spanish Eurofighters from 2040.
Berlin’s defence ministry spokeswoman said there needed to be an adequate arrangement for the use of intellectual property rights in the jet which respected the interests of all participants in the project.
She said negotiations were continuing and it remained Germany’s goal to present a proposal to the parliament’s budget committee in June.
The next step of the jet’s development is conditional on the German parliament’s approval, and time is running out to find a solution to present a proposal in time for the parliament’s budget committee to vote upon it before a general election in September.
Previously, a source with knowledge of the issue had told Reuters that the German defence ministry has to refer the budget proposal to the finance ministry by May 19.
Earlier this week, MTU Aero (MTXGn.DE), Safran (SAF.PA) and ITP Aero solved their row about the development and production of the jet’s engines, agreeing to share the workload evenly between the three companies. ($1 = 0.8321 euros) (Source: Reuters)
29 Apr 21. France vows to punish military signatories of rightwing ‘call to arms.’ Active officers and retirees back declaration mourning ‘disintegration’ of country due to Islamist radicalism. The French military command and the government have vowed to punish active officers and force rightwing reservist generals into full retirement for signing an incendiary declaration mourning the “disintegration” of France because of Islamist radicalism and immigrant “hordes” in the suburbs and hinting at a coup d’état. Published last week in the rightwing magazine Valeurs Actuelles (Today’s Values) on the 60th anniversary of an unsuccessful generals’ putsch against Charles de Gaulle aimed at keeping Algeria as part of France, the inflammatory statement was at first dismissed by the authorities as an outbreak of eccentric nationalist nostalgia by octogenarian retirees. But it soon emerged that at least 18 active military personnel were among the thousands of signatories, while far-right leader Marine Le Pen — who is shown by opinion polls to be Emmanuel Macron’s main rival for the presidency in next year’s election — endorsed its thinly veiled call to arms. Europe Express newsletter Sign up here to receive Europe Express, your essential guide to what happens in Europe, sent straight to your inbox every weekday. “These are grave times, France is in peril,” the declaration said. “Know that we are ready to support politicians who will take into account the need to preserve the nation . . . If nothing is done, laxism will continue to spread inexorably in society, provoking in the end an explosion and the intervention of our active comrades for a dangerous mission to protect our civilisational values.” Le Pen said she agreed that “it was the duty of all French patriots, wherever they are from, to rise up to restore — and indeed save — the country”, although she emphasised that the struggle should be political and peaceful. General François Lecointre, armed forces chief of staff, said that the leading signatories had retired 20 or 30 years previously, but there were also 18 active personnel — four of them officers — among those who signed. They would be punished according to their level of seniority, while the generals who are no longer active but can be called up as reservists would be compulsorily forced into full retirement. “It’s an exceptional measure, that we will launch immediately at the request of the defence minister,” he told Le Parisien in an interview. “At first I said to myself that it wasn’t very significant, and then that the authors knew very well that they were taking a political position. That I cannot accept, because the neutrality of the armed forces is essential. But then I was shocked to read there a call to active soldiers: I find that repulsive.” Lecointre singled out Christian Piquemal, the former head of the French Foreign Legion, for particular criticism. Piquemal had already been forced into full retirement five years ago for having taken part in an illegal demonstration against immigrants in Calais. Jean Castex, prime minister, condemned the declaration after the weekly cabinet meeting on Wednesday, saying it was “contrary to all our republican principles”, and criticised Le Pen for her “unacceptable” exploitation of the controversy for political reasons. Florence Parly, defence minister, said on Twitter that Le Pen’s support “reflects a serious misunderstanding about the institution of the military, which is worrying for someone who wants to become commander-in-chief”. There have long been concerns on the French left about the level of support for the extreme right in the French police, gendarmerie and armed forces, although some recent elections — for example the European elections of 2019 — suggest Marine Le Pen’s Rassemblement National is also the most popular single political party in the country as a whole. A Harris Interactive opinion poll for LCI showed that 58 per cent of French voters polled supported the military officers who signed the controversial declaration, compared with 42 per cent who were opposed. Among respondents who said they supported a political party, 86 per cent of RN sympathisers backed the soldiers. For the centre-right Les Républicains party, support was at 71 per cent, and even in Macron’s La République en Marche party it was at 46 per cent. (Source: FT.com)
27 Apr 21. France And EU Launch Strategic Reviews: China As ‘Systemic’ Rival. How to deal with the Chinese threat will probably be one of the most difficult questions for the European Union to address as it executes its first-ever strategic review, to be published in 2022 and called ‘’Strategic Compass.’
Four years after France’s first strategic review, the Macron government is updating it: Strategic Update 2021. Its primary conclusion: Europe may become less relevant as Great Powers such as Russia and China gain strength. France and its allies are also worried about emboldened regional powers such as Turkey and Iran.
The COVID-19 pandemic has sparked French leaders to stress sovereignty as far as their defense industrial base is concerned. The goal is today the “creation of mutual dependencies with partners (…) agreed upon as opposed to be subjected to.” The military rise of China, now rising as a “systemic rival” of Europe is clearly highlighted in the French document.
How to deal with the Chinese threat will probably be one of the most difficult questions for the European Union to address as it executes its first-ever strategic review, to be published in 2022 and called ‘’Strategic Compass.’
The French minister of the armed forces, Florence Parly took part April 23 in a ministerial workshop organized in Lisbon by the Council of the European Union about Strategic Compass as a preparation for the European White Paper.
The first outlines of a common threat analysis picture is starting to emerge on some out of area theaters : European countries not traditionally familiar with Africa or the Mediterranean from a military point of view have been participating in European joint operations such as EMASOH, the European-led Maritime Awareness mission in the Strait of Hormuz which just celebrated its first year, or the TAKUBA task force which gathers the special forces of seven European countries to train and accompany Malian forces in the fight against terrorism in Sahel.
Immediately, France has decided to boost its budget and personnel and equipment through 2025 –or at least till 2022, given the upcoming presidential elections. For instance, the French Ministry of the Armed Forces announced April 15 its decision to accelerate a 300m Euros order for eight helicopters. Used by the French Army, Air Force and French special forces, the Caracal is currently the only helicopter in Europe that can be refueled in flight. The investment is aimed at containing the worsening aeronautic crisis and sustaining 960 jobs for Airbus Helicopters, Thales, Safran and their suppliers over three years.
The defense budget has been increasing over the past years with a double focus:
- modernization of both nuclear and conventional forces, the complementary pillars of France’s defense and security policy on the one hand;
- the pursuit of what is referred to as a ‘’complete armed forces model’’ capable of intervening no matter what kind of threat France may face, on the other.
Facing new types of threats, the French government has been very steady in developing new strategies in domains now considered crucial such as cyber (in 2018), space (in 2019), artificial intelligence (2019), long range power projection (associated with a new Indo-Pacific strategy in 2019), and, finally, energy (in 2020). It intends to pursue investments meant to enhance France and European strategic autonomy in game-changing domains and breakthrough technologies, such as artificial intelligence.
(Source: glstrade.com/Breaking Defense.com)
26 Apr 21. Generals call for military rule to halt France ‘disintegrating with Islamists.’ Twenty retired generals have created a political storm in France with a call for a military takeover if President Macron fails to halt the “disintegration” of the country at the hands of Islamists.
The open letter, published in Valeurs Actuelles, a right-wing news magazine, has gained resonance after a Tunisian Islamist stabbed to death a 49-year-old woman who worked at a police station in Rambouillet, in the western Paris commuter belt, on Friday.
Macron’s government condemned the appeal, whose first signature was Christian Piquemal, a former head of the Foreign Legion, comparing it to the failed coup by generals against President de Gaulle 60 years ago this month.
Piquemal, 80, lost his privileges as a retired officer after he was arrested while taking part in an anti-Islam demonstration in Calais in 2016.
The letter was initiated by Jean-Pierre Fabre-Bernadac, a retired gendarmerie officer who was active in the gilet jaune protest movement of 2018-2019. It was also signed by 80 other retired officers and strongly supported by Marine Le Pen, leader of the far-right National Rally.
It states: “France is in danger. Several mortal perils threaten her. Even in retirement, we remain soldiers of France and cannot in the present circumstances remain indifferent to the fate of our beautiful country.” The generals said that France was “disintegrating with the Islamists of the hordes of the banlieue [suburbs] who are detaching large parts of the nation and turning them into territory subject to dogmas contrary to our constitution”.
They accused the state of fanning hatred by allowing brutal police action against protesters from the yellow-vest movement who had tried to “express their despair” two years ago. If nothing was done, there would be “an explosion and then intervention by our comrades on active service in the dangerous mission of protecting our civilised values and the safety of our compatriots”, they predicted.
“There is no time to waffle, or tomorrow civil war will put an end to this growing chaos and the dead, for whom you will bear responsibility, will be counted in the thousands.”
They said they had broad support in the military and were “ready to support politicians who take into account the safety of the nation”. The appeal was hailed by Le Pen, who is campaigning to unseat Macron in the elections in a year’s time. “I invite you to join our action and take part in the battle that is opening and is above all the battle of France,” she replied on the Valeurs Actuelles site. “As a citizen and as a woman politician, I share your suffering.”
Le Pen’s National Rally said the generals’ appeal was in line with the views of “patriots” like General Pierre de Villiers, former chief of the defence staff, who was sacked by Macron in 2017.
Florence Parly, the defence minister, dismissed the letter as the words of “a quartet of generals in their slippers … who no longer have any role in our armed forces and only represent themselves”. She added: “The words of Ms Le Pen reflect a serious ignorance of the institution of the army, which is worrying for someone who wants to be commander-in-chief.”
Agnès Pannier-Runacher, the industry minister, also attacked Le Pen: “Sixty years to the day after the putsch by the generals against General de Gaulle the mask is falling. Marine Le Pen is far right and it’s exactly the same story as 60 years ago.” Jean-Marie Le Pen, founder of the far-right party and father of Marine, backed the army’s efforts to stop de Gaulle granting independence to Algeria.
The left-wing political world voiced outrage over the officers’ appeal. Jean-Luc Mélenchon, head of the radical France Unbowed party, condemned “this mind-boggling appeal from soldiers who are awarding themselves the right to appeal to comrades on active service to intervene against ‘Islamo- leftists’.” The term is applied by conservatives to their “woke” opponents in culture wars.
Le Pen and the political right have cited the killing in Rambouillet as further proof that Macron’s government is soft on terrorism and unable to face the threat to French life from the immigrant Muslim population, which is perceived to be expanding from the bleak housing estates around the big cities. The killer arrived in France as an illegal immigrant in 2009 but was given residence in December.
Mainstream conservatives have joined Le Pen in demanding that Macron and his centrist government recognise that immigration from the Muslim world is at the heart of a collapse in law and order and the most recent terrorist attacks. “They must stop denying the link between terrorism and immigration,” Valérie Pécresse, president of the Paris regional council and a contender for next year’s presidential election, said. “We have to take control of our frontiers.” (Source: The Times)
27 Apr 21. UK Carrier Strike Group will sail to Japan on its maiden deployment. The UK’s Carrier Strike Group 2021 (CSG21), led by HMS QUEEN ELIZABETH, will visit Japan on its maiden operational deployment later this year. The CSG21 deployment will take place over 28 weeks, from May to December 2021, and will see the Strike Group travel over 26,000 nautical miles of ocean including passage through the Mediterranean, the Red Sea, the Gulf of Aden, the Arabian Sea, the Indian Ocean and the Pacific Ocean. As well as Japan, CSG21 will visit three other key partners: Singapore, the Republic of Korea and India.
In an era of systemic competition and changing threats, CSG21 will bolster the UK’s ability to deliver its defence, foreign policy and trade objectives alongside key allies. Its deployment to the Indo-Pacific will enhance the enduring defence relationships it holds there as the UK looks to pursue deeper engagement in the region in support of shared prosperity and regional stability, with stronger diplomatic and trading ties.
The UK recognises the importance of the region globally, supports the freedom of passage through vital trading routes and is committed to a recognised international system of norms and behaviours that benefit all countries.
The CSG21 visit to Japan and bilateral and multilateral military exercises also represent the UK’s increased cooperation with Japan and a deepening of the two countries’ relationship.
Secretary of State for Defence, Ben Wallace MP said:
The Carrier Strike Group’s engagement with Japan will enhance the already deep defence partnership between our two countries.
The deployment is a symbol of ‘Global Britain’ in action and demonstrates our commitment to Japan, the Indo-Pacific region, and confronting threats to international order”.
The Strike Group will also comprise Type 45 destroyers HMS DEFENDER and HMS DIAMOND, Type 23 anti-submarine frigates HMS KENT and HMS RICHMOND, and tanker and storage ships FORT VICTORIA and RFA TIDESPRING.
On the flight deck there will be eighteen F-35B Lightning II fast jets (eight from the UK Lightning Force and ten from US Marine Corps), four Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, seven Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine and airborne early warning helicopters, and three Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters.
CSG21 will be joined by vessels from the United States and a frigate from the Netherlands. As well as exercises involving Japan’s Self Defence Forces during its deployment, CSG21 will operate with air and maritime forces from a wide number of international partners including Australia, Canada, New Zealand, France, UAE, Denmark, Greece, Italy, Turkey, Israel, India, Oman, and the Republic of Korea.
British Ambassador to Japan, Julia Longbottom said, “The visit of CSG21 to Japan will be significant moment for both nations and shows just how important the relationship with Japan is to the UK.”
The Government made clear in its Integrated Review that Japan is one of our closest strategic partners, including on security. We are committed to deepening this partnership, and to working even more closely through new trade agreements, deeper partnership in science, technology and data, and on tackling global challenges like climate change. The visit will also be an opportunity to advance our partnership in these areas.
The UK will continue to work in closely with Japan to ensure all engagements will be delivered safely and all entry requirements are adhered to. Personal safety is paramount both for those immediately involved in the CSG21 operations and wider populations.
In preparing for the deployment several protective measures are planned including social distancing as much as possible, ‘bubbling’ and isolating, enhanced sanitisation, personal protective equipment and testing. All personnel deploying on CSG21 will have been offered vaccination against COVID-19. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
26 Apr 21. EDA and EUROCONTROL sign joint work programme. EUROCONTROL and the European Defence Agency (EDA) have today signed an agreement updating their complementary activities in support of the military in the context of the Single European Sky (SES) and SESAR.
Eamonn Brennan, Director General EUROCONTROL said “As a civil-military organisation representing 41 Member States, our aim is to ensure that the military are fully involved and represented in all relevant SES/SESAR matters from the outset. Our focus is very much on ensuring that we deliver technical and operational solutions that are aligned with military needs and reflect national considerations.”
Jiří Šedivý, Chief Executive, European Defence Agency said “In the framework of SES/SESAR, the Agency acts as interface between the military and the European bodies involved in SES/SESAR. Complementary to the work of EUROCONTROL, our aim is to ensure that security and defence needs are appropriately considered in EU regulations relating to SES/SESAR by providing common military views and requirements upfront.”
EUROCONTROL and the EDA have been working closely in the context of the SES since June 2013 when a first agreement was signed. This new agreement updates the set of joint activities to be carried out over the coming 2 years, aiming to ensure that the SES and SESAR accommodate military requirements to the extent necessary to fulfil national security and defence needs. (Source: EDA)
26 Apr 21. Germany’s Greens back creation of European army. The Green Party’s candidate to succeed Angela Merkel has called for “steps towards” a European army as she set out the first detailed account of her foreign policy agenda.
Annalena Baerbock, 40, an MP with no ministerial experience, is coming under greater scrutiny as polls suggest that she has a credible chance of becoming her country’s first Green chancellor. Two surveys published over the weekend indicate that her party has pulled level with Merkel’s Christian Democratic Union (CDU).
A third poll, of 1,500 business executives and public-sector “decision-makers”, found that 27 per cent intended to vote for Baerbock but only 14 per cent supported her CDU opponent, Armin Laschet, 60.
The prospect of a Green-led German government has drawn increased attention to the party’s foreign and defence policies. Traditionally pacifists who campaigned for Germany to withdraw from Nato and banish US atomic weapons from its territory, the Greens have adopted a more atlanticist tone in recent years.
The party has strongly criticised Moscow and Beijing and called for an end to the Nord Stream 2 gas pipeline from Russia to Germany. One of its leading intellectuals recently suggested that it should abandon its opposition to the American nuclear umbrella.
Yesterday Baerbock left open the possibility that US atomic bombs could provisionally remain on German soil as she criticised the “foreign policy passivity” of Merkel’s government. She argued that Nato could offer to give up its “first strike” option — the freedom to launch a pre-emptive nuclear attack — in exchange for Russia withdrawing its atomic warheads from Kaliningrad, an exclave on the Baltic coast.
“A world free of nuclear weapons would be a safer world,” Baerbock told Frankfurter Allgemeine Sonntagszeitung. She called for the creation of joint EU military units under the control of the European parliament. “In my view we have to bundle our capabilities together more strongly as Europeans,” she said. “Europe’s defence spending is three or four times as high as Russia’s but our capabilities are limited because we duplicate a lot. That’s inefficient.”
She avoided a question about arming Ukraine with anti-aircraft guns after a build-up of Russian troops on its border and described Nato’s defence budget targets as outdated and absurd.
China, she said, should be handled with “dialogue and steeliness”, but she noted that it was too large a market for Germany to risk cutting off trade.
Laschet’s troubles deepened at the weekend as his leadership was questioned by his defeated rival Markus Söder, 54. Söder said Laschet “has my support” but insinuated that he was an “old-fashioned” relic of the Merkel era. (Source: The Times)
26 Apr 21. Defence spending will rise as Covid spurs nationalism, says Saab. Swedish defence group chief predicts military spending will grow on back of desire to protect societies A Saab Gripen fighter jet. The Swedish group is looking to the UK, US and Australia for growth. The Covid-19 pandemic has unleashed more nationalist feelings worldwide causing countries to increase their military spending, according to the chief executive of Swedish defence group Saab. Mikael Johansson told the Financial Times that defence spending would continue to rise and predicted that some countries would use their recovery plans to boost military capabilities. “There is no sign of any less market activity or less demand,” he said. “On the contrary, many countries have the feeling that they need to protect societies. There is a little bit more nationalist sentiment.” European countries have been increasing military spending ever since Russia annexed Crimea from Ukraine in 2014 with the moves particularly pronounced in the Nordic and Baltic region. Sweden, home to Saab which produces the Gripen fighter jets, in December approved a 40 per cent increase in the defence budget up to 2025 after warning that the security situation in the Baltic Sea was at it most serious since the Soviet Union collapsed three decades ago. Johansson stressed that the “pandemic is not over yet” and that the defence industry should see a boost from the recovery plans of some countries. Saab wants to grow internationally and is looking to countries such as the UK, US and Australia for growth as well as establishing operational bases there. One of the big challenges for the group during the pandemic has been with its supply chain, mostly due to lockdown closing down production facilities in certain countries. “We had problems all over the place last year,” Johansson conceded. He said that Saab had made a variety of changes to its supply chain, such as financially supporting suppliers, finding an alternative provider or even bringing production of some parts closer to Saab’s own factories. Recommended Saab AB Saab says defence spending on the rise despite pandemic costs “It is a bit of everything. We will have to look at it in a more strategic perspective going forward,” he added, stressing that Saab was also building up “ecosystems” around its international hubs. Many countries were caught out by product or parts shortages during the pandemic and are now trying to correct that for future emergencies, be it a health crisis, military threat or something else. Johansson said Saab’s work in improving its supply chain had made the company more prepared for such an event: “It doesn’t have to a pandemic next time round, it could be a region that is affected. We will be more resilient in the supply chain, having more redundancy.” His comments came as Saab reported first-quarter results where sales, profits and its closely watched free cash flow figures all came in ahead of analysts’ expectations. Sales rose 13 per cent to SKr9.1bn ($1.1bn) from the same period a year earlier, ahead of the average analyst forecast of about SKr8.5bn, while operating profit increased by 7 per cent to SKr597m ($71m), compared with the analysts’ expectation of about SKr430m. Shares in the Swedish group closed up 6.4 per cent at SKr247.7 on Friday as investors cheered the news. Saab is aiming for an underlying profit margin of about 7.4 per cent this year, in line with 2020, but has ambitions of reaching 10 per cent in the long term. Johansson recently announced an internal reorganisation to try to improve efficiency and boost margins. (Source: FT.com)
26 Apr 21. Record size and scope of Carrier Strike Group deployment announced. The largest concentration of maritime and air power to the UK in a generation will set sail next month, visiting more than 40 countries.
The UK Carrier Strike Group’s globe-spanning maiden deployment will feature visits to India, Japan, Republic of Korea and Singapore, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace will announce.
Mr Wallace will set out to Parliament the formidable size of the UK Carrier Strike Group, which will be led by new aircraft carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth.
On a 28-week deployment spanning 26,000 nautical miles, the Carrier Strike Group will conduct engagements with Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India as part of the UK’s tilt towards the Indo-Pacific region. Units from the Carrier Strike Group are expected to visit more than 40 countries and undertake over 70 engagements.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said, “When our Carrier Strike Group sets sail next month, it will be flying the flag for Global Britain – projecting our influence, signalling our power, engaging with our friends and reaffirming our commitment to addressing the security challenges of today and tomorrow. The entire nation can be proud of the dedicated men and women who for more than six months will demonstrate to the world that the UK is not stepping back but sailing forth to play an active role in shaping the international system of the 21st Century.”
HMS Queen Elizabeth, the most powerful surface vessel in the Royal Navy’s history, will next month set sail as the flagship of a Carrier Strike Group. Joining her will be a surface fleet of Type 45 destroyers, HMS Defender and HMS Diamond, Type 23 anti-submarine frigates HMS Kent and HMS Richmond, and the Royal Fleet Auxiliary’s RFA Fort Victoria and RFA Tidespring.
Deep below the surface, a Royal Navy Astute-class submarine will be deployed in support, armed with Tomahawk cruise missiles.
Providing a cutting edge on the carrier’s flight deck will be eight state-of-the-art RAF F-35B Lightning II fast jets. Alongside will be four Wildcat maritime attack helicopters, seven Merlin Mk2 anti-submarine helicopters and three Merlin Mk4 commando helicopters – the greatest quantity of helicopters assigned to a single UK Task Group in a decade.
And supporting below deck will be a company of Royal Marines Commandos.
A US Navy destroyer, a frigate from the Netherlands and a squadron of US Marine Corps F-35B jets are also fully integrated.
CSG21 will be a truly global deployment, from the North Atlantic to the Indo-Pacific. In Parliament, the Defence Secretary will explain how it will help achieve the UK’s goal for deeper engagement in the Indo-Pacific region in support of shared prosperity and regional stability – a stated aim of the Government’s recently published Integrated Review into foreign, defence, security and development policy.
The forthcoming deployment will bolster already deep defence partnerships in the region, where the UK is committed to a more enduring regional defence and security presence. Ships from the Carrier Strike Group will participate in Exercise Bersama Lima to mark the 50th anniversary of the Five Powers Defence Agreement between Malaysia, Singapore, Australia, New Zealand and the United Kingdom.
Engagements in Singapore, the Republic of Korea, Japan and India will provide the opportunity for strengthening our security relationships, tightening political ties and supporting our UK exports and International Trade agenda.
Sailing alongside Allies and partners
The Carrier deployment will take integration with NATO allies and other global Allies to a new level.
At the forefront will be the US and the Netherlands. Sailing as part of the Group and providing it with air defence and anti-submarine capabilities will be the Arleigh Burke-class destroyer USS THE SULLIVANS. Flying alongside their UK counterparts will be a squadron of 10 US Marine Corps F-35B Lightning II aircraft. Providing further air defence will be the Royal Netherlands Navy’s frigate HNLMS Evertsen.
On the Mediterranean leg of the deployment, another close NATO Ally will provide a period of dual carrier operations when French Aircraft Carrier Charles De Gaulle sails alongside HMS Queen Elizabeth.
Elsewhere air and maritime forces from Australia, Canada, Denmark, Greece, Israel, India, Italy, Japan, New Zealand, Oman, the Republic of Korea, Turkey and the UAE will operate alongside the Carrier Strike Group.
Units from the group visit more than 40 countries and undertake in excess of 70 engagements, visits, air exercises and operations.
Leading in NATO
The UK Carrier Strike Group will be NATO’s first 5th generation Carrier Strike Group, underlining the UK’s leading role in the Alliance.
CSG21 will participate in NATO exercises such as Exercise Steadfast Defender, and provide support to NATO Operation Sea Guardian and maritime security operations in the Black Sea. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
20 Apr 21. UK export licence value for military customers decreases in 2020. The United Kingdom has revealed its overall licensing statistics for 2020, with the total value of Standard Individual Export Licences (SIELs) for permanent export to military users declining during the year.
A total of 11,974 SIELs were issued during 2020, 10,067 of which were for permanent exports and 1,344 for incorporation. According to the Department for International Trade (DIT) SIELs are termed as “specific to an individual exporter and generally allow shipments of specified items to a specified consignee up to the quantity specified by the licence”.
Permanent SIELs for military end-users were valued at GBP3.5bn (USD4.87bn) in 2020, down from 2019’s GBP4.14bn, but an increase on 2018’s GBP2.06 bn. Saudi Arabia was the greatest recipient of licences in this category, with GBP1.47bn in approvals in 2020, mostly for equipment in the UK Military Lists’ ML4 category which covers bombs, torpedoes, rockets, and missiles.
SIEL licences for incorporation or integration onto other military platforms and systems increased to GBP968.9m in 2020, up from GBP727.9m in 2019. The United States was the lead recipient of these licences in 2020, with GBP399.4 m worth. This was followed by Sweden at GBP196.6m, primarily for aircraft components and subsystems, and Italy at GBP88m.
Two SIEL incorporation licences were revoked during the year. These were for components for military combat vehicles to be integrated in South Africa and Spain for the United Arab Emirates (UAE). A SIEL incorporation licence application from Turkey for military communications equipment that was being integrated for Azerbaijan was also refused during the year. Permanent SIELs for military vehicle components for Jordan and the UAE were also revoked during the year.
In terms of Open Individual Export Licences (OIELs), 353 were issued during the year. OIELs are defined by DIT as “specific to an individual exporter and cover multiple shipments of specified items to specified destinations and/or, in some cases, specified consignees”.
A government spokesperson told Janes that “The UK government operates one of the most robust export control regimes in the world. We rigorously examine every application on a case-by-case basis against strict criteria. We will not issue any export licences where to do so would be inconsistent with these criteria. Our export licensing system allows us to respond quickly to changing facts on the ground. We have suspended or revoked licences when the level of risk changes and we constantly review local situations.” (Source: Jane’s)
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