Sponsored by Exensor
21 Mar 20. UK F-35 IOC reached despite ’67 exceptions’ say NAO. F-35 Initial Operational Capability was granted with 67 exceptions, say the National Audit Office in a report. As of February 2020, the project team had cleared 47 of the exceptions, although Air Command is clearing them more slowly than planned, say the NAO in their report titled ‘Defence capabilities – delivering what was promised’.
The Ministry of Defence is buying 48 F-35B Lightning II aircraft. This is the first tranche of the 138 Lightning II aircraft the UK has committed to purchase over the life of the programme.
The Department will operate F-35s from the carriers and the Royal Air Force base at Marham. IOC (Land) was declared on the 31st of December 2018 with 67 exceptions against the intended milestone including: no availability of training simulators, issues with the global support solution and immature infrastructure delivery.
What is an exception?
The National Audit Office say that the Ministry of Defence declares key project milestones as achieved, without the intended capability always being delivered at that point. MoD guidance permits the declaration of a milestone “even if performance does not meet acceptance criteria, or if testing to confirm criteria have been met is incomplete”. The Department allows exceptions for a variety of reasons, “but the most frequently used in our case studies was that progress was good enough, despite criteria not being met”, they added.
“In some cases, this affected the Department’s ability to use the capability in the way intended. For example, in the case of the F-35 fighter jet (which accounted for two-thirds of exceptions in our case studies), delays to the provision of synthetic training facilities affected the availability of trained pilots and maintainers. Exceptions should be granted on the basis that there is a time bound plan for their resolution, but this was not the case in most of our sampled case studies.”
The report adds: “The Department currently expects to deliver the promised F-35 Full Operating Capability requirements by 2023.”(Source: News Now/https://ukdefencejournal)
20 Mar 20. Covid-19 will cause ‘severe consequences’ for members: NATO. NATO Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg has warned that Covid-19 will cause ‘severe consequences’ for member states economies and defence budgets. Speaking during the release of NATO’s Annual Report, Stoltenberg said: “It is clear that there will be severe economic consequences of the coronavirus crisis. And at least in the short term, there will also be severe consequences, not only for the total economy, but also for government budgets.
“When we speak about the long-term consequences, that is too early to say anything with certainty about what the long-term consequences will be.”
Despite this, Stoltenberg said that in the face of an uncertain world, he expected member states would continue to invest more in defence and security spending, adding that he expected countries to ‘stay committed’ to their current defence spending targets.
Stoltenberg explained: “We have to remember that when NATO Allies decided to invest more in defence, they did so because we live in a more uncertain, more unpredictable world, and therefore we need to invest more in defence. This has not changed. So, I expect Allies to stay committed to investing more in our security.”
Stoltenberg added that investments in security often paid off in crisis situations citing how Armed Forces provide ‘surge capacity for all our societies’ when it comes to responding to natural disasters and other crisis.
As the Covid-19 pandemic continues to spread a number of NATO member countries have called upon their armed forces to support civilian authorities, provide medical assistance and logistics capabilities.
Yesterday, the UK’s Ministry of Defence announced that it was readying an additional 10,000 personnel for its ‘COVID support force’ and will begin training 100 personnel to drive oxygen tankers to support the NHS next week.
In his speech, unveiling the report, Stoltenberg said that the Covid-19 pandemic faced NATO with ‘an unprecedented crisis’ but that NATO had ‘overcome crises before’. Stoltenberg’s conference on the report was held online for the first time due to social distancing measures, NATO this week also suspended media access to its HQ in Brussels.
In response to the Pandemic, NATO has also looked to modify a number of exercises, but Stoltenberg said this did not affect the organisation’s ability to act if needed. The US has already made modifications to exercise Defender Europe that would have seen 20,000 troops deployed to Europe. (Source: army-technology.com)
19 Mar 20. US Army Europe’s growing challenge? Fight fake news and misinformation. Claims about U.S. tank deployments to Europe by Russia’s Sputnik News led the U.S. Army’s Europe Command to create a new team in spring 2017 to fight the spread of fake news from adversaries, a senior Army official said.
The genesis of what’s called the “Mis/Dis Tiger Team” began in January that year after Sputnik published a series of articles that reported 3,600 U.S. tanks were deploying to Poland as part of a brigade combat rotation. The number of tanks actually deployed, a U.S. Army official confirmed, was significantly less than 100.
Made up of personnel across divisions and in tandem with partner nations, the team now faces a growing number of disinformation campaigns from Russia that senior Army officials said are an attempt to destabilize allies’ governments.
“If not handled properly, the spread of misinformation and disinformation about our mission, units and people has the potential to discredit everything we’re trying to accomplish with our partners and our allies,” said Col. Joseph Scrocca, a spokesman for U.S. Army Europe.
In the months after the Sputnik campaign, a multi-pronged information campaign and cyberattack hammered newly deployed troops in NATO’s Enhanced Forward Presence mission in Poland.
The attack targeted soldiers’ social media accounts and created a fake blog site from the unit’s commander. Local news outlets in Poland published the disinformation as credible news. Army officials worked with the Polish Ministry of Defense and the U.S. Embassy to counter the campaign and debunk each story.
After the attack, the Army created a “battle drill” designed to outline detailed steps for each staff section to complete if they identified a disinformation campaign or cyberattack.
A network of “sensors” monitor news across the continent — from embassy teams to military partners. Staff then analyzes each attempt for severity, impact and truth and provides recommendations to leadership for best responses.
“Identifying these incidents or being able to negate them early is the real strength of the team,” said Beth Clemons, the chief of the U.S. Army Europe public affairs media division.
The team consists of military media personnel and contractors who monitor stories, narratives or themes that could hurt Army operations.
The group works closely with staff from information operations, intelligence, the international operations division and subordinate units as well as staff from operations, force protection, anti-terrorism. Host nation militaries, U.S. embassies and experts at higher headquarters and other organizations are also involved.
The team is “very selective” in calling information fake news, Clemons said, because often these attacks aim to seek attention and develop an audience and the fake news label could help garner that attention.
“You can’t play whack-a-mole with every little blog post or you will just add oxygen to a tiny flicker that will naturally go out,” Clemons said.
The Atlantic Council’s Digital Forensic Research Lab is working with the Army to identify and contain attacks. That lab tracks global disinformation campaigns, fake news stories and covert military developments.
Established in 2015 as an open-source research organization, the non-profit now helps fight disinformation campaigns, said Lukas Andriukaitis, the Atlantic Council’s associate director. Every week lab staffers track narratives against NATO troops in Baltic countries, he said. Their task is not to combat every post but to uncover larger operations.
In May 2019, the lab worked with Facebook to publish findings of a large-scale influence operation against allied governments that spanned nine languages, over 30 social network and blog platforms, and produced large numbers of fake user profiles and identities.
“It remains disturbingly simple for malicious actors to create false profiles on these platforms and use them as a launch pad for disinformation,” the report found.
Although the lab could not attribute the operation to a specific group, they concluded the approach resembled an operation by a larger intelligence service.
“Militaries have bigger problems with digital security,” Andriukaitis said. “They are big targets, and these are big, robust organizations that are not as quick to respond as a private company.”
The Army is relying more on groups such as the Digital Forensic Research Lab, NATO’s Strategic Command Center of Excellence and StopFake.org to collaborate and engage the growing threat from adversaries.
“The biggest success story of this [Mis/Dis Tiger Team] has been the expansion of our network and increased sharing of information and teamwork,” Clemons said. “The strength is the team and it’s a team that grows every day.” (Source: Defense News)
19 Mar 20. UK should rethink deadline for defense, foreign policy review, says former national security adviser. Former British national security adviser Peter Ricketts has urged the government to put the brakes on its plan to complete an integrated review of defense, security, foreign policy and development by July. The new coronavirus pandemic is partly to blame, he said.
“I do not see how a deep, thorough and integrated review covering the entire spectrum [of requirements] can now be done by July,“ Ricketts told a March 17 parliamentary Defence Select Committee hearing on the government’s plan.
Conservative Party Prime Minister Boris Johnson initiated the review following his general election win in early December. Johnson promised it would be the most fundamental review of its kind since the end of the Cold War.
Analysts and others have been concerned that the review will be fudged in the rush to complete the promised deep dive into defense, foreign policy and security strategy reform.
The defense committee already called for a delay, and it has questions about how the review is being run.
Tobias Elwood, the recently appointed committee chairman, said the panel is “not impressed” by the initial way the review is progressing. Elwood said at the March 17 hearing that the Army had been told to submit their requirements by Mar 20, before they had been informed by the government what its new foreign policy will look like. The committee met with Army chiefs last week.
The Foreign Office has produced five separate essays on its view of Britain’s role in the world, and the Army had not seen the documents, said Elwood.
One government lobbyist said that Elwood’s remarks showed that Dominic Cummins, Boris Johnson’s special adviser and one of the main proponents for radical change in the defense sector, had settled on an answer even before the review questions had been asked.
“He’s not listening and doesn’t appear to care much how he gets the outcome he wants, particularly around areas like technology and procurement,” he said.
Ricketts told the committee the already tight timescale had been further jeopardized by the government’s concentration on the unfolding COVID-19 pandemic.
“I do not see how you could possibly complete the review over the [coming] months, not least because of the bandwidth available for senior ministers and the government more generally [as a result of the virus],” he said.
COVID-19′s influence on defense matters was further illustrated March 19 when the Ministry of Defence announced that thousands of regular and reserve troops are being put on standby to assist public services as part of a new support force.
Ricketts, who led the Conservative government’s 2010 Strategic Defence and Security Review, said that given the situation, it is possible Johnson might want to put off the review as well as the comprehensive spending review that’s running in parallel.
The spending review sets the level of departmental spending across government for several years ahead.
Alex Ashbourne-Walmsley of Ashbourne Strategic Consulting also believes the defense and funding reviews should be postponed.
“It makes no sense to me that the U.K. should continue with either the defense review process or the comprehensive spending review when it is still too soon to determine the long-term economic and social impacts of coronavirus. It would be more sensible to defer everything for at least a year,” she said.
Ricketts has suggested the government could come up with baseline foreign policy principles and some initial military priorities while leaving the more detailed work until later.
Both he and Jock Stirupp, the former chief of the Defence Staff, told the committee that it is important the defense review and the comprehensive spending review are done in tandem to ensure the money and military requirements went hand-in-hand.
The MoD is facing a serious funding shortfall, which is likely to lead to further cancellations or delays to major programs.
A recent report by the National Audit Office, the government financial watchdog, said the MoD’s 10-year defense equipment plan shows there is a potential funding shortfall of up to £13bn (U.S. $15bn).
The funding gap is shrinking, but this is the third year in a row the National Audit Office has deemed the plan unaffordable.
Defence Procurement Minister Jeremy Quin told Parliament during a session on defense questions March 16 that the government had every intention of continuing with the review. “It’s important we get on with it,” he said. “We need to take firm decisions, and the swifter, the better.”
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace was quizzed about the integrated review timetable in the March 16 session. He said the government is regularly reviewing the decision on timing. (Source: Defense News)
19 Mar 20. UK Military Stands Up “COVID Support Force.” Armed Forces on High Readiness for COVID-19. The UK Defence Secretary Ben Wallace today announced a “COVID Support Force” as part of new measures to put service personnel and Reservists on standby to support public services in response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
The Ministry of Defence (MOD) will put an additional 10,000 military personnel at a higher readiness and place Reserves on standby to support public services as part of a new “COVID Support Force”, the Defence Secretary announced.
These measures are part of prudent contingency planning to respond in a timely way to any request from other governments departments or civil authorities for support during the COVID-19 pandemic.
So far, the military have assisted with repatriation flights from China and Japan. They are also providing specialist military planners to Local Resilience Forums who are providing support to public services, local authorities and emergency services in preparing their response to the COVID-19 outbreak.
Today, the MOD announced further preparations to support public services if required:
- up to 10,000 personnel will be placed at a higher readiness, so they are able to assist with supporting public services. This is on top of the 10,000 already held at higher readiness.
- 150 military personnel will be trained to drive oxygen tankers in order to support the NHS if required. They will begin training on Monday.
- measures have been taken to enable the call out of Reservists, should they be required to join the response effort.
- scientists from the Defence Science and Technology Laboratory (Dstl) are supporting Public Health England’s effort to understand the virus and tackle the spread.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said that “The men and women of our armed forces stand ready to protect Britain and her citizens from all threats, including COVID-19. The unique flexibility and dedication of the services means that we are able to provide assistance across the whole of society in this time of need. From me downwards the entirety of the Ministry of Defence and the armed forces are dedicated to getting the nation through this global pandemic.”
According to the Defence Secretary, “there are well-rehearsed mechanisms in place for the military to provide support to civil authorities in times of need. Most recently the military has been called on to support the government’s response to flooding.”
The MOD is fully engaged with other government departments, the devolved administrations and local authorities to establish how best it can support over the coming weeks and months.
The Standing Joint Command will be the Command and Control Structure for the COVID Support Force, which represents the MOD’s contribution to the government response.
“Putting more personnel at a higher state of readiness and having our Reserves on standby gives us greater flexibility to support public services as and when they require our assistance.” said Major General Charlie Stickland Assistance Chief of the Defence Staff Operations and Commitments.
Stickland added that “The COVID Support Force, potentially drawing upon our highly skilled scientists at Defence Science and Technology and Laboratory or oxygen tanker drivers, will form part of a whole force effort to support the country during its time of need. Our servicemen and women are committed to maintain our operational output and delivering any support the government requires.” (Source: Warfare.Today/U.K. MoD)
19 Mar 20. UK SSBN refuel runs behind schedule. A GBP200m (USD237.5m) programme to refuel the UK Royal Navy’s (RN’s) nuclear-powered ballistic missile (SSBN) submarine HMS Vanguard is now nine months behind schedule.
The submarine was originally scheduled to leave Babcock International’s refuelling facility at Devonport Dockyard in mid-2019 after a Long Overhaul Period (Refuel) that was supposed to last three and a half years. However, the UK Submarine Delivery Agency (SDA), which is overseeing the project, confirmed to Jane’s in a Freedom of Information Act request on 17 March that it was still in dock in December last year. Naval sources have since confirmed that HMS Vanguard has still not left No 9 Dock in Devonport. (Source: Jane’s)
18 Mar 20. Spain clears the way for North Macedonia to join NATO. Spain’s Senate on 17 March approved the accession of North Macedonia into NATO, clearing the way for the Balkan country to become the 30th member of the alliance. NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg responded on social media: ‘With that, all allies have welcomed our soon-to-be 30th member.’ North Macedonia had been attempting to join the alliance since 1995 under the Partnership for Peace programme but it was repeatedly vetoed by Greece in a long-running dispute regarding the ex-Yugoslav republic’s name, which is shared with a Greek region. Consequently, Macedonia changed its official name to North Macedonia in 2018 in order to resolve the dispute, clearing the way for NATO membership. (Source: Shephard)
18 Mar 20. UK armed forces prepare 20,000 troops to help in crisis. Military in ‘high readiness’ to provide transport, logistics and engineering support. Britain’s armed forces have placed up to 20,000 troops on standby as part of a “covid support force” which could set up makeshift hospitals in vacant hotels and help police officers in their duties as the coronavirus escalates. The new force — made up of 10,000 military personnel who are regularly deployed to civilian activities, plus an extra 10,000 in response to the Covid-19 pandemic — has been placed at “high readiness”. Its future role is likely to focus on transport, logistics and engineering support during the crisis, although this could expand into more specialised functions. A group of 150 military personnel are due to start training next week in how to drive oxygen tankers in order to support the National Health Service’s treatment of coronavirus patients requiring ventilation and critical care. Why would you put patients on a draughty, remote ship when there are hotel rooms lying empty? It would be better to book up the Holiday Inn next to the hospital British official “Putting more personnel at a higher state of readiness and having our reserves on standby gives us greater flexibility to support public services as and when they require our assistance,” said Major-General Charlie Stickland, assistant chief of the defence staff for operations and commitments, commenting on the covid support force.
“[This will] form part of a whole force effort to support the country during its time of need. Our servicemen and women are committed to maintain our operational output and delivering any support the government requires.” While the military has previously helped in national crises such as flooding and the foot-and-mouth outbreak in 2001, it is highly unusual for troops to be drafted into civilian support at this scale. The covid support force is expected to play a role in enabling police to secure the streets in the event of a lockdown, which could be triggered in London — where the number of coronavirus cases is highest — as early as this week. Coronavirus business update How is coronavirus taking its toll on markets, business, and our everyday lives and workplaces? Stay briefed with our coronavirus newsletter. Sign up here The military personnel would perform standard police duties, freeing up officers to concentrate on street patrols. More than 700 new coronavirus cases have been reported across Britain in the past 24 hours, bringing the total to 2,626. US president Donald Trump announced on Wednesday he had deployed a hospital ship to New York harbour to help deal with the surge in American cases, but UK military officials played down the idea of Royal Navy vessels being used to treat the sick.
“Why would you put patients on a draughty, remote ship when there are hotel rooms lying empty?” said one British official. “It would be better to book up the Holiday Inn next to the hospital.” The military could help provide logistics in setting up hospitals in hotels, added the official. The covid support force has not yet been deployed and will only mobilise in response to formal requests from government departments. Recommended Army UK Army targets Love Island viewers in new recruitment campaign Ben Wallace, defence secretary, is due to put out a call on Thursday for reservists with specialist skills to help the outbreak support effort. “The men and women of our armed forces stand ready to protect Britain and her citizens from all threats, including Covid-19,” said Mr Wallace, ahead of the reservists request. “The unique flexibility and dedication of the services means that we are able to provide assistance across the whole of society in this time of need.” The Ministry of Defence has already seconded scientists at the military laboratory in Porton Down, Wiltshire, to help public health efforts in mapping and testing for coronavirus. The lab, which was instrumental in identifying the novichok nerve agent used against former Russian spy Sergei Skripal and his daughter Yulia in Salisbury two years ago, has deployed a small team to work on managing the virus. It will be working on “hazard assessment, microbiological testing and operational analysis support to government”, said the defence ministry. (Source: FT.com)
18 Mar 20. Defence Capabilities – Delivering What Was Promised. The Ministry of Defence (MoD) is struggling to deliver key parts of the UK’s planned defence capabilities programme, according to a National Audit Office (NAO) report published today. New military capabilities – the combination of equipment, trained personnel, infrastructure and information needed to meet a specific requirement of the Armed Forces – are pivotal to delivering the UK’s defence policy.1 These capabilities cover major projects such as offshore patrol vessels, fighter aircraft, drones and battlefield communication systems. The estimated total procurement cost of the 32 most significant defence projects and programmes is £196.2bn. To deliver such capabilities, the MoD employs around 20,000 staff.
The NAO finds that projects are not being consistently delivered to the expected standard or on time. (Emphasis added—Editor.)
At a time of fast-paced technological developments and global change, it is essential that the MoD can make swift and full use of the capabilities it needs as planned. Failure to deliver them on time is likely to undermine the MoD’s ability to carry out its key tasks, and lead to overextended use of existing assets, and additional costs.
Ten of the MoD’s 32 most significant projects and programmes either require urgent action to get back on track, or already cannot be delivered on time.
Whereas, five of the 32 are currently likely to be delivered on schedule. These projects and programmes are forecast to be on average more than two years late by the time they are declared as fully operational.
A persistent ongoing problem the MoD faces is equipment delivered either late or faulty by its suppliers. Nearly a third of the 32 most significant projects report serious issues with suppliers. In some cases, poor performance has persisted over a number of years.
MoD project and delivery teams are under-resourced and lack essential skills,contributing to delays in delivery. Six of the 32 projects face shortfalls of more than 20% in their programme teams. The report also highlights shortages of key staff and how some teams are reliant on consultancy support. The MoD also does not have the information it needs to hold teams to account and make strategic decisions.
The NAO has also identified examples where poorly defined delivery ‘milestones’ have meant the MoD has been unclear what has actually been achieved. Projects can be declared ‘fully operational’ even if they are not or if testing is incomplete.2 In some cases, this has affected MoD’s ability to use equipment in the way intended.
In response to these challenges, the MoD is introducing a new approach to procurement, designed to speed up delivery, and allow it to flexibly upgrade equipment in response to technological change. For this to successfully tackle the issues highlighted in the report, the NAO emphasises that key decision makers must have an accurate and current understanding of the level of capability that has been delivered.
“It is essential that the MoD improves the way it introduces important new defence capabilities into service. This includes ensuring that pressure to be seen to deliver quickly does not lead to it accepting incomplete projects, and making decisions on the basis of incomplete reporting,” said Gareth Davies, head of the NAO.
the estimated total procurement cost of the 32 most significant defence capabilities that the Ministry of Defence (the Department) is bringing into service
number of the Department’s 32 most significant defence capabilities that require ‘urgent action’ to deliver in full, or are already ‘undeliverable’ to the current timetable
number of the Department’s 32 most significant defence capabilities where delivery is ‘probable’ or ‘highly likely’ to be in line with schedule
— 12 months
average forecast delay to the delivery of an initial operating capability for the Department’s most significant defence capabilities
— 26 months
average forecast delay to the delivery of a full operating capability for the Department’s most significant capabilities
number of the Department’s 32 most significant defence capabilities which face serious issues with supplier engagement and/or performance
number of the Department’s 32 most significant defence capabilities which have significant skills shortages that are impacting on deliverability
number of additional Senior Responsible Owners that the Department calculated in 2018 it would need if each of the most significant defence programmes was to have its own
* In this context, a military capability is a combination of equipment and trained personnel that is needed to carry out tasks in support of the Government’s defence policy objectives.
* The MoD declares key project milestones as achieved without the intended capability always being delivered at that point. Departmental guidance permits the declaration of a milestone even if performance does not meet acceptance criteria, or if testing to confirm criteria have been met is incomplete. The MoD allows ‘exceptions’ for a variety of reasons, but milestones are frequently declared as achieved on the basis that progress is ‘good enough’, despite criteria not being met fully.
The National Audit Office (NAO) helps Parliament hold government to account for the way it spends public money. It is independent of government and the civil service. The Comptroller and Auditor General (C&AG), Gareth Davies, is an Officer of the House of Commons and leads the NAO.
The C&AG certifies the accounts of all government departments and many other public sector bodies. He has statutory authority to examine and report to Parliament on whether government is delivering value for money on behalf of the public, concluding on whether resources have been used efficiently, effectively and with economy. (Source: defense-aerospace.com/UK National Audit Office)
18 Mar 20. Union warns Germany against Super Hornet selection. One of Germany’s biggest aerospace employee unions has warned the country’s government that it risks jeopardising the entire European defence industry if it selects a US-built fighter to replace the Luftwaffe’s Panavia Tornado fleet.
Berlin is currently weighing options for a successor aircraft, with a decision expected in early 2020; Boeing’s F/A-18E/F Super Hornet and the Eurofighter are both in contention.
However, the acquisition is complicated by the multiple roles performed by Germany’s Tornados: as well as ground attack, electronic warfare (EW) and nuclear deterrent missions are also carried out.
While the Eurofighter would be a natural successor for the strike role, it currently has no EW capability and the US-provided nuclear bombs which would be carried by German aircraft have not been integrated on the multi-national type, potentially opening the door to the Super Hornet or E/A-18G variant.
Although the Super Hornet does not carry a nuclear payload, integration work would take considerably less time than on the Eurofighter, according to reports, if the USA allowed it at all.
But in an open letter to Germany’s defence and economy ministers, plus the head of the chancellery, the IG Metall union warns against selecting the F/A-18E/F, even as part of a split-buy.
IG Metall says that 25,000 jobs in Germany and 100,000 in Europe as a whole depend solely on Eurofighter production; a decision against that programme “jeopardises the future of our workforce”, it says.
Developing new capabilities for the Europe-built aircraft, such as EW or advanced sensors, is also essential to provide suitably skilled workers for the Franco-German Future Combat Air System programme, the union says.
“The purchase of the F-18 would not only flow billions of dollars in German tax money into the United States, but would also jeopardise the future of military aerospace in Germany. A split solution cannot be the preferred choice. A decision against German and European companies could not be explained to our employees and German taxpayers,” the union writes.
IG Metall represents workers from Airbus Defence & Space, sensor specialist Hensoldt, engine maker MTU and aerostructures provider Premium Aerotec. (Source: Google/Flight Global)
18 Mar 20. Equipment delays threatening UK military capability – report. The fighting capability of Britain’s armed forces is being put at risk by delays in producing important new pieces of equipment, the government’s spending watchdog warned on Wednesday.
Delays have hit a wide range of projects including the F-35 fighter jet, offshore patrol vessels and battlefield communication systems.
A report by National Audit Office (NAO) found about a third of the military’s 32 most important projects are behind schedule. The new equipment is on average more than two years late before it can be at full operating capability, the report said.
Failure to deliver these projects on time will lead to overuse of existing assets and increase costs, it added.
“Things need to change and change fast. There are risks to national security if not,” said Meg Hillier, who chairs parliament’s public accounts committee. “The whole culture needs an overhaul.”
The watchdog’s conclusions come after Prime minister Boris Johnson announced a review of Britain’s defence and security strategy, which will include a focus on military procurement.
Dominic Cummings, Johnson’s senior adviser, a critic of past procurement, last year described the military procurement process as a farce and accused the forces of “squandering billions of pounds” on unnecessary hardware.
According to the NAO report, a persistent problem is equipment delivered either late or faulty by suppliers.
The military’s delivery teams are under-resourced and lack essential skills, contributing to delays, the report said. Six of the 32 projects face shortfalls of more than 20% in their programme teams. (Source: Reuters)
17 Mar 20. “Delay Integrated Review in response to Covid-19”: MP Tobias Ellwood. Tobias Ellwood, MP and Chair of the House of Commons Defence Select Committee, has called on the UK Government to postpone the Integrated Review of defence and foreign policy in response to the Covid-19 pandemic.
Calling for the review to be delayed, Ellwood told Army Technology: “Due to the Covid-19 outbreak, I am calling on the government to, therefore, delay the Integrated Review, so that not only can the Government give it the detail it requires when the time is right, but so that Parliament can also properly scrutinise the review process, such as through the planned work of the Defence Committee.”
Ellwood said that Britain “faces an increasingly unpredictable world, where new threats are emerging every day,” but for the review to be completed properly, it would need to undergo proper scrutiny.
Ellwood added: “The Integrated Review has come at a pivotal moment and it is vital that it is conducted in an environment where due attention and proper scrutiny can be given.”
There is an uncertainty that Parliament will sit over the coming months as the UK tackles the Covid-19 coronavirus pandemic that has led the government to ask people to work from home wherever possible.
In Parliament yesterday, Ellwood raised the prospect of delaying the review. In response, Defence Minister Jeremy Quinn said: “The integrated review is important; it is important that we get on to it and move on with it at pace. We need to take firm decisions and the swifter the better.
“However, as ever, we are mindful of events, and such things will obviously be taken into consideration if they need to be.”
Parliament today announced that all non-essential visitor access was being suspended and that MPs, Peers, Parliamentary staff and other members of the Parliamentary community where being asked to work from home where possible.
With MPs being encouraged to steer clear of Parliament, the select committee would not be able to hold hearings as it conducts its own examination of the defence review.
The review is set to look at the UK’s place in the world and look into all aspects of defence and foreign policy. A core topic of the review is set to be a deep look into the Ministry of Defence’s procurement process which has been criticised by Prime Minister Boris Johnson’s top advisor Dominic Cummings.
The review formally launched in February, includes a push to look at how the UK can better leverage technology and data ‘to adjust to the changing nature of threats’. The Prime Minister’s Office at the time added: “All this will be undertaken with the aim of creating a more coherent and strategic approach to our overseas activity.” (Source: army-technology.com)
16 Mar 20. UK RAF successfully passes major Nato capability test. More than 600 personnel of the UK Royal Air Force (RAF) have successfully passed a major capability test conducted by Nato. The Capeval evaluation test was conducted at RAF Leeming to evaluate the operational capability of the service to support the organisation under challenging conditions.
Personnel from 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) at RAF Leeming in North Yorkshire took part in the evaluation conducted between 5 to 11 March.
Chief of the Air Staff air chief marshal Mike Wigston said: “After a decade away from Nato’s Capeval assessment programme, the RAF’s Typhoon Force has provided Nato with clear evidence of its ability to operate to the highest operational standards, under highly testing conditions.
“The successful Capeval outcome proves the RAF’s ability to deploy a potent fighting force and reinforces the RAF’s and UK’s commitment to Nato, and confirming our ability to work effectively alongside our Nato allies.”
The RAF’s capability was put to test with different threats ranging from Air Policing to full warfighting.
Eight Typhoon jets from Numbers 1(Fighter) and II (Army Cooperation) Squadrons based at RAF Lossiemouth in Scotland and Number 1 Squadron RAF Regiment supported the wing.
Commanding 135 EAW Group Captain Andrew Coe said: “One of the major challenges one faces when deploying 600 personnel from across different parts of the RAF is the ability to work together as an effective team. This we have achieved over the last few weeks and 135 EAW have been forged into an effective fighting unit.” (Source: airforce-technology.com)
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 Homeland 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