Sponsored by Exensor
06 Nov 21. UK to ditch £15bn EU deal if Brussels goes hostile. Leaked paper shows ministers are prepared to walk away from bloc’s flagship science projects Britain is working on plans to withdraw from three major EU research programmes, which would see Brussels denied up to £15bn funding.
Amid deteriorating relations with Brussels, the Government has commenced work on domestic alternatives should the UK pull the plug on Horizon Europe, Copernicus and Euratom. They are the bloc’s €90bn (£77bn) flagship scientific, satellite, and nuclear programmes, which the UK agreed to remain part of when it signed the Brexit trade deal last year.
It suggests that ministers are actively drawing up measures to mitigate retaliatory options open to the European Commission, should Britain be forced to trigger Article 16 of the Northern Ireland Protocol in the coming weeks.
The UK is set to contribute £2.1 billion annually to the seven-year Horizon programme in order to maintain access for British scientists and researchers to pan-European projects and funding.
It has also secured access to the Copernicus Earth observation programme, deemed vital to the UK space sector, while reaching a separate deal on continued involvement in the Euratom nuclear research programme.
However, entry has been stalled by the EU despite other non-member states such as Norway already receiving formal association status – meaning British institutions are missing out on research and funding opportunities.
Now a leaked government paper, circulated at a Brexit Cabinet sub-committee this week, has revealed that ministers believe the delay is a deliberate bid by Brussels to create leverage in the talks over Northern Ireland, and that the programmes will soon stop representing value for money.
On Saturday night, a senior government source said: “Blocking the UK from joining Horizon is in no one’s interest – we can’t participate and they lose out our financial contribution. We’re having to look at alternatives in case the EU does block our access, which would be a breach of what we agreed less than a year ago.”
Another source said the EU was at risk of breaching its obligations under Article 710 of the Trade and Cooperation Agreement.
The leaked document says that while there is hope the EU could de-escalate, departments have been told to prepare “alternatives to each programme in case association should not prove possible to a satisfactory timeline”.
It is also understood that Lord Frost, the Brexit minister, has been working with Kwasi Kwarteng, the Business Secretary, on reviving a British alternative to Horizon Europe known as the Discovery Fund.
Sources familiar with the plans say a target date of early 2022 has been discussed and that any domestic schemes would be funded from the money that would have otherwise gone to the EU programmes.
In a sign that frustration with Brussels is at an all-time high, the paper goes on to say that work should begin even though the “programme benefits cannot be fully replicated in domestic alternatives” and withdrawing “would impact the ambition to become a science superpower”.
Restoring Britain’s place as a world leader in science is a key plank of Boris Johnson’s vision for “Global Britain”.
The plans come amid growing expectations that Mr Johnson could soon trigger Article 16, the so-called nuclear option enabling the UK to suspend parts of the Northern Ireland Protocol.
While the UK and EU remain locked in talks, senior government figures have revealed that the negotiations have so far failed to deliver any meaningful progress.
On Saturday night, they broke cover to publicly criticise the EU’s plan to fix the protocol, warning that its proposals to cut customs checks, paperwork for hauliers and barriers to medicines flowing from Great Britain to Northern Ireland fall far short of what was promised.
While the talks ultimately hinge on the future role of the European Court of Justice in the province, UK negotiators say several of the EU proposals are “actually worse” than the grace periods currently in force.
In particular, Lord Frost’s team have singled out the commission’s vow to slash the number of checks by 50 per cent, arguing that it fails to remove a single product from having to go through typical customs processes and is too narrow to have any impact on a significant number of businesses.
The UK continues to argue that most of the checks on goods which pose no risk of leaking into the EU’s Single Market should be removed. It has also challenged the bloc’s claim that its plans will reduce the amount of export certificates lorry drivers need to fill out to one per load, asserting that the majority of lorries destined for Northern Ireland would still be stopped for checks.
Even on medicines, the EU’s proposals are considered too complex to guarantee that the supply of some British drugs would remain viable, while some drugs for patients would continue to be supplied only on an emergency basis.
It is understood the UK is preparing to pull out of the talks by the end of November should the EU fail to move, with a government source saying on Saturday night: “They [the EU’s proposals] don’t deliver what they say on the tin. The number of checks and processes would still be unacceptably high, contrary to what the commission said when they first announced them.
“The Court of Justice would still be able to rule on laws in Northern Ireland, even though the people of Northern Ireland have no say on how they are made. When Maros Sefcovic comes to London next week, he must realise that a change in the EU’s approach is needed. If that happens, we’re optimistic that there is a way through this.”
However, several influential figures in the Government already believe that triggering Article 16 is now inevitable, with one source warning: “Where we are right now is that the EU has shown zero signs of budging. If that’s all we have got to work with then it’s not the nuclear option, it’s the only option.”
Discussions over UK readiness for triggering it are accelerating, with ministers and officials currently debating whether to hold a Parliamentary vote should they be forced to act.
While holding one is not thought to be legally required, several government figures believe securing Parliament’s support would strengthen the UK’s hand and nullify the risk of campaigners seeking to challenge the decision through judicial review.
‘EU could seek to suspend entire Brexit trade deal’
Should the UK do so, the EU warned this week that it will face “serious consequences”. The bloc is expected to hit back with punitive tariffs on high-value British exports, stricter controls of British lorries and suspension of the data transfer arrangements with the UK.
Some member states have suggested the EU could go further and seek to suspend the entire Brexit trade deal, causing major disruption for British businesses and consumers.
The UK’s participation in Horizon, Euratom and Copernicus would also be likely to be used as leverage. According to the Government’s latest paper, entitled “UK’s approach to participation in EU programmes”, a number of actions have been ordered to help mitigate against the threat.
These include the Department for Business (BEIS) developing a “handling plan” to ensure stakeholders in the programmes, such as universities and scientific institutions, are kept up to speed with the work on alternative plans.
BEIS, the Department of the Environment (Defra) and the Treasury have also been told to start preparing short-term measures to mitigate another delay in the UK’s entry.
On specific programme replacements, the document says Defra and BEIS need to begin to prepare options for long-term investment to replace Copernicus and ways of addressing the impact of losing its data on the UK space sector. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
03 Nov 21. Latest UK report reveals fall in export deals. It seems that the UK has maintained its presence in the top 10 global defence exporters worldwide — but it remains to be seen whether this will continue after COVID-19 and post-Brexit.
The UK government on 26 October published statistics that paint a broad picture of defence equipment exports in 2020 and the last decade, highlighting how the UK positions itself in the global landscape alongside its EU and non-EU competitors.
A report from UK Defence and Security Exports (DSE), based on data released by manufacturers and government agencies — highlighted almost £8bn ($10.9bn) worth of export contracts in 2020 — a 28.1% year-on-year decrease compared with the £11bn recorded for 2019.
The economic impact of COVID-19 may have been one reason: the report mentioned that total exports to the lucrative Middle East market fell from 57% in 2019 to 19% in 2020, citing the economic impact of the pandemic on regional defence budgets and the price of oil.
However, DSE calculated that the UK was still the second-largest defence exporter in the world (behind the US) over the past ten years.
As for its share of the global defence exports market in 2020 alone, DSE found that the UK secured 6% in 2020, behind only the US and Russia.
In terms of export market share in comparison with major competitors (US, Russia, France, Germany and Italy) in a ten-year timeframe (2011-20), DSE statistics suggested that the UK has matched or outpaced France or Russia for most of that period apart from 2013 and 2018.
The latest DSE data is particularly interesting compared to figures released by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) in March 2021 — perhaps reflecting different methodologies and the fact that SIPRI (unlike DSE) included China in its calculations.
In its ‘Trend in international arms transfers, 2020’ report, SIPRI put the UK as the sixth-largest arms exporter between 2016 and 2020, accounting for 3.3% of global arms exports.
The SIPRI data also described a substantial 27% plunge for UK defence exports in 2016-2020 compared with 2011-2015.
Between 2011 and 2019, the UK signed several major export deals.
The biggest ones include deals worth between £6bn and £6.8bn apiece with Kuwait, Saudi Arabia and Qatar in 2016, 2017, and 2018 for Eurofighter Typhoon aircraft.
Furthermore, the value of the US F-35 programme must be factored in as UK companies play a significant role in manufacturing parts of the aircraft.
In 2020, Lockheed Martin commissioned KPMG to conduct research which found that UK industrial participation in the F-35 programme delivers an estimated £40.6 billion in gross value added (GVA) to the UK economy between 2007 and 2038.
During DSEI 2021, Shephard interviewed DSE director Mark Goldsack, who described defence exports and investments in the global market as main objectives of ‘Global Britain’.
He said: ‘Our role as an organisation has always been to make sure that we’ve got the smoothest possible relationship with our international partners’.
He added: ‘Against that backdrop, looking as to how we’re going to play our part with our colleagues across government across the services across the various ministries, in implementing both the Integrated Review and the Defence and Security Industrial Strategy ‘.
An optimistic Goldsack stated that the UK is ‘not afraid of the competition’ because it is ‘very confident in the quality of the technology it offers’.
Challenges still remain, not only with the market after COVID-19 but also with Europe after Brexit. Commenting on the issue of export licences post-Brexit, Goldsack said that licensing ‘will always be a live issue’ but ‘our licensing system is the tightest in the world… And we shouldn’t be afraid of that. That means that what we do is properly scrutinised’. (Source: Shephard)
05 Nov 21. As Europe looks to the Indo-Pacific, so does the Luftwaffe. The German Air Force is preparing to send fighters, tankers and transport aircraft across the world to the Asia-Pacific region in a little less than a year, as its colleagues in the European Union continue to assess how the bloc should increase its involvement in the region. The Luftwaffe will deploy six Eurofighter aircraft, three Airbus A330 tankers and three A400M transport aircraft in support of Australia’s Pitch Black exercise, scheduled for Sept. 5-23, 2022. The typically biennial exercise was canceled in 2020, and next year’s edition will be the first since 2018.
Germany is ready to play a bigger role in the Indo-Pacific region, and will start with this initial sortie next fall before developing a more long-term plan, said Air Force Chief of Staff Lt. Gen. Ingo Gerhartz.
This is the Air Force’s “first and biggest deployment” of air assets to the Asia-Pacific region, Gerhartz said in an interview with Defense News in October at the Luftwaffe’s Neuburg Air Base in Bavaria.. “It’s a strong signal to show our valued partners in the Indo-Pacific that we are with them.”
The main hub for the 2022 deployment will be Australia, but details about the actual bases have yet to be confirmed, the Air Force said.
The service also wants to integrate Singapore and Japan into the deployment exercise, a spokesperson wrote in an email to Defense News.
Gerhartz expects to meet with some of his counterparts in the Indo-Pacific region in November during the Dubai International Air Chiefs Conference, and will make additional plans afterward.
This air deployment would follow the August 2021 deployment of the German Navy frigate Bayern. The ship is to spend six months at sea, with stops planned in 12 different ports including in Djibouti, Karachi, Diego Garcia, Perth, Guam, Tokyo and Shanghai. However, news outlet Deutsche Welle reported in September that China rejected the planned Shanghai stopover “after a period of reflection.”
For now, Gerhartz is focused on planning the 2022 exercise, although he did not rule out the possibility that German air assets would return to the Indo-Pacific theater. “I cannot foresee if there will be a permanent presence,” he said. “But for me, it cannot just be: One year we are there, and then we are out.”
A longer-term strategy may hinge on Berlin’s new coalition government between the Social Democrats, the Greens and the Free Democrats, as well as how the leaders of this new center-left government decide to approach the Indo-Pacific region.
Such a deployment will be useful for Germany’s Air Force to hone its strengths, said retired U.S. Army Lt. Gen. Ben Hodges, who serves as the Pershing chair in strategic studies at the Center for European Policy Analysis.
“It’s useful for the German Air Force to do this to grow their own capability,” he told Defense News. “You have to do some missions like this, where you go to the other side of the world.”
But European allies could assist its U.S. and Indo-Pacific partners more fruitfully by developing a “cohesive, cooperative approach towards the Chinese Communist Party in terms of diplomacy and economic power,” he added.
The Air Force’s deployment exercise is based on a series of policy guidelines for the region published by the German government in September 2020.
“With the rise of Asia, the political and economic balance is increasingly shifting towards the Indo-Pacific,” the Luftwaffe spokesperson said. “The region is becoming the key to shaping the international order in the 21st century.”
A year after the policy guidelines were published, the objectives are beginning to be met, Germany’s Foreign Office said in a September 2021 brief.
During Germany’s presidency of the Council of the European Union, the bloc’s Asia relations were upgraded “to the level of a strategic partnership in December 2020,” the brief stated. The nation has also extended its relationships with Australia and Japan, while opening up a regional German information center to expand public communications in the area.
The EU published its first Indo-Pacific strategy in September 2021. From a security perspective, the strategy noted the union’s plans to deploy military advisers to EU delegations in the region — currently to China and Indonesia — and to establish an EU cyber diplomacy network. The strategy highlighted cybersecurity; counterterrorism; nuclear safety; nonproliferation of nuclear, chemical and biological weapons; and information manipulation as security challenges where the EU wants to work more closely with its Indo-Pacific colleagues.
Besides Germany, France and the Netherlands are the only other European nations to publish their own regional strategies. Paris first published strategies in 2018 and 2019, while Berlin and Amsterdam followed in September and November 2020, respectively. (Source: Defense News)
05 Nov 21. Poland thinks big as it looks nervously east. Proposed legislation would see Poland more than double the size of its army, as the country seeks to enhance its deterrence capabilities in relatively short time.
An ambitious Homeland Defence Act in Poland would more than double its military headcount and fund more procurement of modern weaponry, as the country continues to keep a wary eye on neighbouring Russia.
Defence minister Mariusz Blaszczak announced the proposed legislation on 28 October, noting that it is geared towards encouraging longer terms of service for military personnel.
Jarosław Kaczynski, Polish deputy prime minister and chairman of the defence committee in the Polish Council of Ministers, explained that strengthening deterrence ‘in a relatively short time’ is the main objective of the reforms.
He attacked ‘Russia’s imperial ambitions’ as well as the challenge of defending the eastern border of Poland against incursions by illegal migrants.
‘If we want to avoid the worst, that is war, we have to act according to the old rule: “If you want peace, prepare for war,”’ Kaczynski added.
Military expansion goes hand-in-hand with greater defence procurement, so Kaczynski referred to a ‘need to purchase new armaments and equipment. We will do it in the US but also with the European and Polish defence industries’, he said.
Ongoing acquisition programmes cited by Kaczynski include the HIMARS multiple-launch rocket system, the F-35A Lightning II multirole combat aircraft and Abrams SEPv3 main battle tank – although he said procurement of long-range artillery systems is also a priority.
The act — which requires assent from parliament and President Andrzej Duda — would replace 14 existing pieces of legislation related to national defence and security, some of them dating back to the Cold War era.
One eye-catching component of the Homeland Defence Act is a proposal to more than double the size of the Polish Land Forces from about 110,000 today to at least 250,000 regular troops plus 50,000 in the Territorial Defence Forces (compared with 30,000 today).
This expansion in the size of the army would not be achieved by re-introducing conscription (abolished in 2009) but rather by increasing the term of service for volunteers.
Poland is understandably concerned about Russian expertise in hybrid warfare, so the proposed act also includes the creation of a new military cyber defence unit.
There is no firm indication as to how much it would cost to implement the Homeland Defence Act. At an estimated 2.1% for 2021, Poland already exceeds the 2% of GDP defence spending benchmark for NATO members so expansion on this scale would increase this proportion even further.
Blaszczak said that an Armed Forces Support Fund would be established to support the military expansion plan. The fund would be backed by government bonds, the state budget and profits from the central bank. (Source: News Now/Shephard)
05 Nov 21. Defence Secretary Visits Oman for Joint Exercises. Defence Secretary Ben Wallace has visited Oman, to demonstrate the UK’s commitment to the country and the wider Gulf region.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace and Omani Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs, His Highness Shihab bin Tariq, onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth.
HMS Queen Elizabeth – the Royal Navy’s flagship aircraft carrier – is docked at Duqm port in Oman, as the UK Armed Forces carried out joint land, sea and air exercises with the Omani Forces.
The visit represents the UK’s integrated approach to defence and foreign policy and the UK’s enduring commitment to working with Oman and Gulf partners on promoting regional security and stability.
Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said: “HMS Queen Elizabeth is here to demonstrate our commitment to the Omanis as invaluable partners and to show our support to the wider Gulf region. This visit presents an opportunity to see UK forces working hand in hand with our Omani partners across land, air and sea exercises, promoting stability and security in the region and confronting our shared threats.”
The Defence Secretary hosted the Omani Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs, His Highness Shihab bin Tariq, onboard HMS Queen Elizabeth. They observed the impressive capabilities of the aircraft carrier and met UK personnel onboard the ship. HMS Queen Elizabeth leads the UK Carrier Strike Group which is on its maiden operational deployment to the Indo-Pacific and Middle East, embodying the Government’s Global Britain vision.
The Defence Secretary and Deputy Prime Minister for Defence Affairs also had the opportunity to see Exercise KHANJAR OMAN at the Ras Madrakah training area. This is a joint battlegroup exercise involving UK and Omani troops, with ground forces supported by the Carrier Strike Group at sea and F-35 jets from the air.
Exercise KHANJAR OMAN represents a key part of the Army’s Future Soldier concept, which will see British soldiers more integrated with our partners in regional hubs around the world.
Brigadier Marcus Mudd, Land Component Commander in Oman said: “The Future of the British Army out here in Oman is extraordinarily exciting. This is all about partnership. Oman is a strategic partner to the UK, particularly within the Gulf region. Being able to draw from each other’s strengths and the specialist capabilities that we have is an incredible opportunity.”
Captain Kate Breeze, Wildcat Pilot, 1 Army Air Corps: “Ex Khanjar Oman has really given us an unparalleled opportunity in terms of air, land, sea integration. We’ve got our partners in the Navy who are with the Carrier Strike Group and we’ve got the opportunity to work with F-35s and the Marines. This is also a chance to work with our Omani colleagues and partners. We’ve been fully integrated with an Omani Reconnaissance Company throughout the exercise and that’s been a fantastic opportunity”.
The Defence Secretary observed urban training exercises which showcased the impressive range of skills and equipment at the disposal of our Armed Forces.
During the visit, RAF Typhoon jets arrived in Oman in advance of Exercise MAGIC CARPET – a joint air exercise between the UK, Oman and Qatar Air Forces which will take place in the coming weeks. The annual event gives Typhoon pilots the opportunity to conduct a range of training sorties. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
04 Nov 21. Turkey is about to give up the Russian S-400 missile systems. Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan has said that his country has an interest in buying SAMP / T medium-range anti-aircraft missile systems in Italy, learned BulgarianMilitary.com, citing Defense Express. It seems that Erdogan seeks to “bargain” in the United States for the supply of the latest F-16 Block 70 fighters.
- Surprisingly: Turkey wants to buy 40 F-16s and upgrade 80 old ones
- Turkey has captured six Russian spies for espionage
- Dogfight! F-16V Viper versus J-39E Gripen: Who Wins?
- Dogfight! F-16 Fighting Falcon vs. MiG-29/35 Fulcrum – who is better?
- Top 5 best anti-aircraft missile systems in the World
- Dogfight! American THAAD vs. the Russian S-400/S-500 air defense missile systems
Italy and France have worked together on the complex, but Erdogan insists on working with the Italians, as Paris and Ankara conflict dominance in Libya and the Eastern Mediterranean. This was reported by the portal Army Recognition.
The SAMP / T anti-aircraft missile system, or MAMBA, designated by the French Armed Forces, is designed to cover the combat formations of troops and infrastructure, such as airports and seaports, from the full range of air targets, such as aircraft and UAVs, cruise missiles and ballistic missiles with a range of up to 600 kilometers.
SAMP / T uses a two-stage anti-aircraft missile Aster 30 block 1. This missile is capable of intercepting air targets in the range of altitudes from 50 meters to 20 kilometers.
When intercepting a target at an altitude of more than 3 kilometers, the firing range of Aster 30 block 1 is 100 kilometers, when intercepting a target at an altitude of up to 3 kilometers, the firing range is 50 kilometers.
The news that Turkey can buy SAMP / T SAM in Italy coincides with two other news. In September 2021, Erdogan announced his intention to buy a new batch of Russian S-400 SAMs.
At the same time, at the end of October 2021, Turkey and the United States entered into negotiations on the possible supply of 40 newest SAMP / T fighters to the Turkish Air Force as a compensator for Ankara’s withdrawal from the F-35 aircraft program. And here it is worth recalling that the White House is consistently opposed to Turkey buying new S-400 from the Russians.
Turkey made a second attempt in Rome
As we reported in November 2, the US presidents and the Turkish president, Joe Biden, and Recep Tayyip Erdogan, talked, inter alia, at the G20 summit in Rome on Sunday on the possible purchase by the Turkish side of the American F-16s, which would partially compensate for Ankara’s removal from the program of the fifth-generation F-35 machine after the purchase of the Russian S-400 anti-aircraft and anti-missile system.
Seventy minutes of talk in a “very positive atmosphere” – this is how the meeting was described in a statement by the Turkish presidential palace. It took place a few days after President Erdogan withdrew from the idea of ousting 10 ambassadors from Turkey, including one from America, who appealed to the authorities in Ankara to release Turkish opposition activist Osman Kavala.
The presidents discussed the issue of the purchase of American F-16s by Turkey. Biden said that “the procedures for selling these multi-role aircraft take time” and has committed to “continuing to do so,” the US administration said.
The US has no plans to sell the F-16s to Turkey
As we reported on October 20, Turkey’s desire to acquire the American F-16 fighters remains a mirage, for now, Ned Price said, a spokesman for the US State Department.
“The State Department does not approve or comment on proposed arms sales or transfers until it is formally notified by Congress. As far as Turkey is concerned, we very much appreciate our partnership with our NATO ally. Turkish authorities have publicly acknowledged their interest in buying F-16s. “The United States has not made any financial proposals at Turkey’s request for an F-16,” Price said.
As BulgarianMilitary.com reported earlier this month, Turkey was hoping to acquire 4 ++ generation fighters after Washington “reflected” Ankara’s aspirations to buy the F-35. The reason is known – the Russian S-400 system, which Turkey bought from Russia a year ago. According to unofficial information from Washington, there is another reason for the refusal of the Americans – information from military intelligence that the Turkish side supports terrorist groups in Syria.
Earlier, Ankara warned Washington that if the United States did not sell the F-16 to Turkey, Russia would become a supplier of Turkish aircraft, with some sources even citing a possible purchase of Russian Su-35 and Su-57 fighters.
However, signals from Russia are also not in favor of Turkey. It is said that Moscow does not intend to cooperate in this area with Ankara and will refuse any request from the Turks. The reasons are almost the same as those in Washington – the support of terrorist groups in Syria. Another reason is the fact that, as a NATO member, Turkey is an “aggressor” against Russia and its allies.
Military sales are frozen
As we announced back in August 2020, for almost two years [now three – ed.], members of the US Congress have been blocking arms deals for Turkey. The reason is the same – the purchase of the Russian air defense system S-400 and the activation by Ankara.
The exact number of blocked contracts is not disclosed, but it is stated that at least two of them are large. One of these contracts concerns the modernization of F-16 fighters. This information was then confirmed by the American edition of Defense News.
The defense industry then signaled that such actions could ruin relations between the contractors and Turkey would start looking for new partners.
The United States resorted to similar measures in 1975 after the Turkish invasion of Cyprus. The United States then suspended arms sales to Turkey for three years.
The case S-400
The reason Turkey currently does not have fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters is Ankara’s decision to buy S-400 air defense systems from Russia two years ago. This has caused dissatisfaction in both the United States and NATO member states.
Although NATO remained somewhat isolated from the dispute and more conservative in its statements, the United States took decisive action and expelled Turkey from the F-35 project. In addition to depriving Ankara of the opportunity to receive new fighters, this led to economic sanctions from Washington, which further aggravated the situation.
Turkey, for its part, is not giving up on Russian air defense systems. Described as the best in the world at the moment, Turkish officials have repeatedly stated that the price at which they were offered to buy the S-400 is much lower than the one that Washington has offered for its Patriots.
The situation is even more complicated, and Turkey’s chances of acquiring new F-16 fighters and modernizing its existing flotilla are dwindling, as Turkish President Recep Tayyip Erdogan confirmed just days ago that Turkey will buy a second batch of the same Russian systems.
Is it just business?
Turkey says it sees no problem in using Russian S-400 air defense systems. According to military analysts, the reason Turkey turned to Russia was the high cost of US Patriot systems. But that system has failed in the last two years in Iraq and Saudi Arabia. They were repeatedly attacked with missiles at targets in the Green Zone of Baghdad, and Patriot was unable to intercept all the missiles. The same thing happened during the rocket and drone attack on the Aramco oil refinery in Saudi Arabia.
The United States claims that it is not compatible for the Russian S-400 air defense system to operate “under one flag” with their fifth-generation F-35 Lightning II fighters, because of link 16. Link 16 is the data and communication NATO and West standard. According to Washington, through the S-400 the Russians will be able to access sensitive data on stealth technology and the avionics of their F-35s.
It is known and proven that the Russian air defense system S-400 manages to intercept stealth aircraft and deal with them more successfully than any other air defense system in the world. Russia is already upgrading its anti-aircraft missile division with this system and has recently begun arming itself with its latest S-500 air defense system, believed to be able to counter hypersonic missiles or strike a satellite in low orbit around the Earth.
Turkey has a chance with its own fighter
It is known that Turkey is developing its next generation TF-X fighter. However, there are still problems with financing and delivery of key components. However, the engine can be an easier problem to solve.
As we reported earlier this year, the Ukrainian company FED to supply tens of ms of dollars in components for new helicopters and planes to Turkey. The third contract with Turkish partners this year was signed during the International Exhibition IDEF-2021.
The FED during the recent arms exhibition in Turkey signed another contract with local customers. Probably, it is a question of designing and manufacturing new components for the heavy Turkish attack helicopter ATAK-II. “Development and supply for one year. These are units of the helicopter flight control system and hydraulic systems,” said Viktor Popov, Chairman of the Board of FED, President of Ukraviaprom.The chairman of the board of the Fed added that during the current year the company has already signed three contracts with Turkish partners.
“Two contracts are helicopter-themed. In addition, we participate in the TF-X (Turkish Fighter Experimental) program. It is a fifth-generation aircraft, a fighter. It is also a huge job, very short deadlines. It is important that the planned development and This means that we are fully loading our engineers, technologists, and production” said Victor Popov. “In total, these contracts are more than $20m,” the head of the FED added. (Source: News Now/https://bulgarianmilitary.com/)
03 Nov 21. Threats to re-establish Republika Srpska army risk undoing Dayton Agreement. Statement by Sonia Farrey, UK Political Coordinator at the UN, at the Security Council briefing on Bosnia and Herzegovina.
Thank you Mr President. I’d like to start by congratulating Mexico on assuming the presidency this month and wish you all the best. I’d also like to congratulate Kenya for a very successful presidency in October.
Mr President, I would like to join other Council members in welcoming the adoption just now of a resolution that renews the authorisation for the EU stabilisation force in Bosnia and Herzegovina, EUFOR ALTHEA, for a further 12 months. As the High Representative states in his recent report, the present turbulent environment in Bosnia and Herzegovina highlights the vital role of EUFOR ALTHEA in safeguarding peace and security, enabling the High Representative to fulfil his mandate and providing reassurance to the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina. Although this is by necessity a simple resolution, it rests on the great body of existing resolutions and other documents of this Council which set out the Council’s position in full.
Mr President, although the new High Representative, Mr Christian Schmidt, is not with us today, we would like to thank him for his candid and thorough report on implementation of the Peace Agreement in Bosnia and Herzegovina, which was circulated to Council members pursuant to the requirements of the Dayton Agreement and Council resolutions. We look forward to welcoming him to the Council in upcoming meetings.
The High Representative’s report paints a very worrying picture. We note his view that Bosnia and Herzegovina is facing the greatest existential threat of the post-war period and heed his warning on the real prospects for further division and conflict.
In particular, we share the deep concern of other Council members at the divisive rhetoric and actions pursued in some quarters of Bosnia and Herzegovina, notably by representatives of the Republika Srpska entity. Although these activities predate the 22 July amendment of the BiH Criminal Code by the former High Representative to sanction denial of genocide and war crimes and glorification of war criminals, the amendment appears to have provided a pretext for an escalation since then.
As the High Representative points out, these activities, including threats to re-establish a Republika Srpska army and to pull out of other established state-level institutions, represent an attempt to withdraw the Republika Srpska from the constitutional order established under the Dayton Agreement. These moves seek to undo 26 years of hard won peace and progress. As such, we agree with the High Representative’s assessment that these actions amount to an attempt to engineer secession from BiH. This endangers not only the peace and stability of the country and the region, but threatens an undoing of the Dayton Agreement itself.
In light of the political situation in BiH, it is more vital than ever that the Security Council makes clear its ongoing support for the full implementation of the Dayton Agreement. In addition to the military role of EUFOR, this includes the civilian role of the High Representative.
We would like to join others in expressing our support for the new High Representative, Mr Schmidt and for the use of executive powers should the situation require it. We reject attempts to undermine his appointment and close his office prematurely. This is not in the interest of the people of BiH but undermines regional security and BiH’s objective of Euro-Atlantic integration. As agreed by the Peace Implementation Council Steering Board, and repeatedly reaffirmed by Council members, completion of the 5+2 agenda remains necessary for closure of the office. We urge the BiH authorities to recommit to achieving progress and welcome Mr Schmidt’s proposed initiative to reinvigorate the process.
And we urge the entities and all citizens of BiH to harness the spirit of the positive developments in the High Representative’s report, such as the mutual visits between the city mayors of Sarajevo, Mostar, Banja Luka and Tuzla.
Mr President, as a member of the Security Council and the Peace Implementation Council, the UK remains committed to supporting the security, stability, democracy, prosperity, sovereignty and territorial integrity of Bosnia and Herzegovina.
We stand with the people of Bosnia and Herzegovina in their hopes for a peaceful and bright future. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
04 Nov 21. Urgent need for EU and NATO to be better prepared for legal threats, new study shows. There is an urgent need for EU and NATO members to be better prepared against threats in the legal domain, a new study warns. Geopolitical competitors such as China and Russia use the law to pursue their strategic objectives and exert their influence. China’s recent anti-sanctions legislation, which is designed to blunt the impact of Western sanctions over Xinjiang and Hong Kong, offers one example. Another is the misinformation which has clouded the legal assessment of an incident last July, when the UK’s HMS Defender sailed some 12 miles (19 kilometers) off Crimea’s coast.
Hostile legal claims result in an urgent need for legal preparedness and capacity-building, argues Dr Aurel Sari, from the University of Exeter, in the new Hybrid CoE Research Report, Hybrid Threats and the Law: Building Legal Resilience. In the report, Dr Sari calls on EU and NATO members to pay greater attention to the legal threat landscape.
Dr Sari said: “For countries such as Russia and China, law is a core component of their grand strategy. They employ law both to exert control and project influence and to legitimize their acts and delegitimize their opponents.”
The EU, NATO and member states can be more prepared by developing a clear picture of the way in which adversaries utilize the law to their advantage. Hostile countries, organisations or individuals exploit the law through election interference, building energy and economic dependence, and cyber operations.
The study recommends organisations and nations should categorise these into a legal threat matrix, to be prioritised through a legal threat register.
In the report Dr Sari said: “The legal threat register should be kept under continuous review in the light of the evolution of the hybrid threat landscape. The register should also identify the legal vulnerabilities that the threats exploit or give rise to.”
The research shows that navigating the legal threat landscape demands a strategic approach which recognizes the systematic nature of the threat. According to Dr Sari, there are seven steps that the EU, NATO and their member states should take to build this strategic approach.
Teija Tiilikainen, Director of Hybrid CoE, said: “The work needs to be done at multiple levels: in the national legislative processes, at the EU level, as well as in the context of international law. A special focus should be on governmental efforts to address hybrid threat attempts below the threshold of open aggression.”
To lead the discussion on hybrid threats and the law, and to mark the publication of the report, Hybrid CoE is organizing its flagship conference Outside and Inside the Law: Countering Hybrid Threats in the Legal Domain in Helsinki on 4 November. The conference will bring together experts, policymakers, practitioners, lawmakers and academics to discuss and enhance legal resilience in and across our societies. Hybrid CoE continues to provide solutions and to share best practices in countering hybrid threats posed by gaps in national legislation and international law.
04 Nov 21. US, European officials pursue increased defense cooperation. As the United States and the European Union size each other up for defense cooperation, a number of technical and philosophical obstacles continue to hamper substantial progress.
At issue is how both sides of the Atlantic can bridge the opposing poles of competition and cooperation as they seek to connect their defense industries in search of better capabilities for all, according to Jed Royal, deputy director of the U.S. Defense Security Cooperation Agency.
“We need to talk increasingly about a trans-Atlantic industrial base,” he said during a panel discussion at the FEINDEF international defense exhibit. While there are lots of political decisions still in play toward that end, a focus on partnerships would eventually make it so, he said.
Still, the devil is in the details. Working on European defense issues through channels other than NATO is in many ways new for Washington. And the American reflex of using its outsized industrial influence in the alliance is met by a European bloc eager to sharpen its own sword.
For example, various administrative arrangements with the U.S. government, as they are known in EU parlance, have yet to come to fruition. The bureaucratic-sounding deals are essential in defining the scope and authorities for any activity member states extend to outsiders.
Such an agreement is still elusive, for example, in a program aimed at improving “military mobility” in Europe, a reference to easing the cross-border flow of hardware and troops in the event of a crisis. A project under the EU’s Permanent Structured Cooperation, or PESCO, umbrella was opened to U.S. participation earlier this year, to great fanfare, but unfinished negotiations over an administrative pact continue to sideline the Pentagon.
“The United States is very pleased to be given permission to work within the PESCO military mobility project. It’s an excellent start, and we’re very grateful for that opportunity,” Royal said during the panel discussion. But “we think that the lack of an administrative arrangement right now unnecessarily hinders our ability to cooperate.”
Such is the nature of the U.S.-EU defense relationship so far: Amicability abounds, but common ground remains elusive behind a slate of technicalities.
There is also the question of whether a common, trans-Atlantic pool of defense companies is even desirable. Thierry Carlier, the director of international development at the French military acquisition office DGA flagged “sovereignty” and the need to prevent “dependency” as key features of any emerging defense-industrial agenda.
EU officials have been worried an overly enthusiastic embrace of the U.S. defense contractor ecosystem, which feeds on a $700 bn national budget, could make quick work of an industrial landscape on the continent struggling to streamline itself while remaining equitable for all member nations.
France welcomes negotiations between the European Defence Agency and the United States on an administrative agreement, Carlier said. “We expect lots of positive outcomes.”
At the same time, he suggested a greater focus on interoperability could help bring together the two continents where a focus on cooperative programs that risk falling short of national requirements cannot.
“If we travel a bit into the future — not that far — there could be a race between U.S. sixth-gen fighters with their loyal wingmen and the French-German-Spanish new-generation fighters with their remote carriers,” Carlier said, with a nod to the trinational Future Combat Air System.
Bridging those interoperability gaps should be a priority, he argued, with NATO as a key player in harmonizing the relevant links and standards.
“I believe we can share more, in terms of interoperability layers and expanding out cooperation to new technologies to a much bigger extent than we have in the past,” Carlier said.
In the end, Royal said, the amount of political will on both sides of the Atlantic will be critical in forging a U.S.-EU defense relationship. “We often think of political will when it comes to the moment of the use of force,” he said. “But we also need to be thinking about preparing and organizing ourselves for the use of force.” The industrial base part, he argued, is part of that calculus. (Source: Defense News)
04 Nov 21. FCAS program could ‘transform’ Spanish defense sector in a decade. The trinational Future Combat Air System program has ambitious plans to provide France, Germany and Spain with a plethora of new capabilities, from fighter jets and drones to sophisticated sensors and stealth technology. For Spain, it’s also a tremendous opportunity to showcase its defense-industrial base on a multinational stage.
The country formally signed onto the Franco-German program in 2019, with the objective of not only equipping its armed forces with the latest generation of weapon systems, but ensuring its own companies receive equal workshare in the program alongside their colleagues from Paris and Berlin, military officials said during the biennial FEINDEF conference in Madrid, Spain.
A key factor in Spain’s decision to participate in the program was to “gain capabilities” and ensure more autonomy for its national industrial base, Spanish Air Force Col. Luis Villar Coloma said during a Wednesday panel at the show.
Coloma leads the Defence Ministry’s sub-directorate for planning, technology and innovation. He noted that the dual-use technologies in development for the Future Combat Air System, or FCAS — meaning they can be used in civilian and military settings — will serve as a “strategic element for national defense and for the national economy.”
As the program tiptoes into the research and development phase — dubbed “1B” and expected to start in 2022 — Spanish companies are integrated into all seven technology pillars.
Indra is the country’s main industry partner, while Dassault represents French companies and Airbus leads Germany’s industrial participation. Indra is also the prime contractor for developing new sensors as well as a partner to build the advanced combat cloud and simulation systems.
Airbus’ Spanish subsidiary represents Madrid in the next-generation fighter pillar and is the overall leader for low-observability/stealth technology. ITP Aero is helping develop the advanced jet engine.
Spain contributes to the remote carrier pillar via the coalition SATNUS, or Spanish Alliance of Technologies for NGWS Unmanned Systems. SATNUS, established in May, includes companies SENER Aerospacial, GMV and Tecnobit-Grupo Oesia.
Additional local companies and subsidiaries are expected to get involved in phases 1B and 2, when the demonstrators will be launched. Those phases are scheduled to run for nearly a decade, with a fighter prototype expected by 2027, and manufacturing slated to begin in 2030 to have an operational “system of systems” online by 2040.
Madrid intends to ensure its industrial base retains at least one-third of the workshare throughout the program’s life cycle. The Defence Ministry has drawn up an industrial and technological plan to better support its base, and spoke to more than 170 companies to frame that plan, said Spanish Army Lt. Col. Jose Manuel Chaves, who supports the ministry’s defense industrial policy division.
Spain’s involvement in the program thus far has employed more than 220 people and supports companies spanning more than 75 percent of the Spanish territory, Chaves noted. That number is expected to grow as the next two phases move along, and Madrid has committed €2.5bn (U.S. $2.9bn) to the technology development phase, per the ministry.
For industry leaders, FCAS is a chance for the local enterprise to show the rest of Europe what it’s capable of producing.
There is “tremendous opportunity” for the Spanish workforce to help create the cutting-edge technologies of the future, “if we have the ambition,” said Miguel Angel Morin Martín, Airbus Spain’s FCAS leader. The country boasts “highly qualified engineers” ready and eager to participate, even if they don’t have as much experience in some technological areas as their French and German colleagues, he noted.
“I think FCAS may be the unique opportunity to take up the challenge and to start working,” Morin Martín added.
The technologies and capabilities under development for FCAS have the potential to “completely transform the defense sector” over the next 10 years, said Indra FCAS director Manuel Rodriguez Cerezo.
He acknowledged the road through such a transformation will not be easy, and said the industrial sector is not “naive” about the challenges ahead. But it will be done in the “best spirit of cross-industry collaboration” to make the most of national capabilities and cooperate further with France and Germany “to strengthen European integration together,” he added.
Industry officials expect the much-awaited R&D phase to begin by early 2022. In September, leaders from the three governments formalized an agreement to move ahead to the next stage, but the major industry representatives must also complete their own contract.
Airbus, Dassault and Indra are finalizing that contract, and it should be signed by the end of the year after “fine-tuning” the role of each company within the seven pillars, Rodriguez Cerezo told Defense News at the conference.
“We have to be sure that all the agreements are perfectly established before signing the global document,” he said. (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
02 Nov 21. ‘Exasperated’ Ben Wallace summons top brass for dressing-down. Ben Wallace has summoned senior army generals to the Ministry of Defence for a dressing-down after becoming “exasperated” by a number of “worrying incidents” relating to culture and conduct in the service.
The extraordinary meeting of the army board, which includes General Sir Mark Carleton-Smith, the head of the army, is expected to be held next week. It is the first time the defence secretary has “summoned” top brass to express his frustration with the way the army has handled allegations and procurement programmes. The army board, which normally meets formally twice a year, is made up of senior commanders, including the assistant chief of the general staff and the commander-in-chief of land forces. The meeting will cover the beleaguered Ajax armoured vehicle programme, conduct at the Sandhurst military academy and the alleged killing of a Kenyan prostitute in 2012.
There are also concerns about general behaviour and allegations of “bullying” in the army and the recent behaviour of senior officers, some of whom have been investigated over allegations they falsely claimed education allowances.
An army spokesman said that Wallace would address several issues that were “at the heart of the army’s reputation and capability”, in particular the “unacceptable” treatment of women.
A senior Ministry of Defence source told The Times: “The secretary of state has today summoned the army board to discuss a range of issues affecting the service.
“This extraordinary summons comes off the back of a number of worrying incidents. The meeting will cover Ajax, conduct and culture in the army.” They added: “The secretary of state has become exasperated over a series of issues.”
Wallace is understood to be concerned that the army may have kept details from him about the extent of the problems with Ajax ahead of the integrated review because of fears he might axe it.
More than £3.2bn has already been paid to the defence giant General Dynamics’s UK arm for the Ajax vehicle despite only a few dozen of the 589 being delivered. The vehicles were meant to be delivered from 2017 through to 2024.
The programme has been beset by delays, with trials on the vehicle suspended twice over health and safety concerns after troops reported hearing problems and other issues with joints owing to noise levels and vibrations.
Giving evidence to the defence select committee today, Jeremy Quin, the procurement minister, said that the MoD was still trying to ascertain what the problem was with the vehicles and would publish a report into the programme shortly.
Wallace will also raise issues relating to the Royal Military Academy Sandhurst.
The Times revealed last month that seven officers and soldiers could face prosecution over the suicide of a female Sandhurst cadet after a military police investigation.
The individuals were part of the “directing staff” and so were in training and supporting roles at the time of Olivia Perks’s death in February 2019.
They have been referred to the Service Prosecuting Authority, which is considering charges against the Sandhurst staff for failing to carry out their duties to protect Perks.
Sources questioned at the time whether there was “toxic leadership” at Sandhurst, saying that “issues were being swept under the carpet to protect reputations” as it was also alleged that leaders had failed to pass on complaints about a cadet hiding in a room hoping to see another cadet naked.
Wallace is also expected to raise the case of a Kenyan woman who was allegedly murdered by a British soldier in 2012.
The MoD has been criticised for its “totally inadequate” response to the death of Agnes Wanjiru, whose body was found in a septic tank, and the alleged subsequent cover-up by members of the army.
An army spokesman said: “The secretary of state is determined to work with the army’s leadership to drive out unacceptable behaviour at all levels, particularly with respect to the treatment of women. The army’s core value of respect for others must underpin everything it delivers on behalf of the nation, whether in the United Kingdom or operating around the world.” (Source: The Times)
03 Nov 21. NATO ups the ante on disruptive tech, artificial intelligence. NATO has officially kicked off two new efforts meant to help the alliance invest in critical next-generation technologies and avoid capability gaps between its member nations.
For months, officials have set the ground stage to launch a new Defense Innovator Accelerator — nicknamed DIANA — and establish an innovation fund to support private companies developing dual-use technologies. Both of those measures were formally agreed upon during NATO’s meeting of defense ministers last month in Brussels, said Secretary-General Jens Stoltenberg.
Allies signed the agreement to establish the NATO Innovation Fund and launch DIANA on Oct. 22, the final day of the two-day conference, Stoltenberg said in a media briefing that day.
He expects the fund to invest €1bn (U.S. $1.16bn) into companies and academic partners working on emerging and disruptive technologies.
“New technologies are reshaping our world and our security,” Stoltenberg said. “NATO’s new innovation fund will ensure allies do not miss out on the latest technology and capabilities that will be critical to our security.”
“We need to ensure that allies are able to operate the different technologies seamlessly, between their forces, and with each other,” he added.
Seventeen allied countries agreed to help launch the innovation fund. They include: Belgium, the Czech Republic, Estonia, Germany, Greece, Hungary, Italy, Latvia, Lithuania, Luxembourg, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Romania, Slovakia, Slovenia, and the United Kingdom.
NATO will develop a minimum level of funding that will be required by every participating nation, and that level is being decided by those initial 17 allies, said David van Weel, assistant secretary-general for emerging security challenges.
Soldiers from NATO member France attend the cyber defense exercise DEFNET 2021 on March 18, 2021, in Rennes, western France. Alliance members collectively have pledged to boost their focus on new and disruptive technologies, including the areas of cyber and artificial intelligence. (Damien Meyer/AFP via Getty Images)
He noted that there are “a variety of reasons” as to why the initial supporters stepped up, while the remaining 13 member nations did not. But he expects that more countries will sign up to participate in the fund before the alliance’s 2022 summit, he said during an Oct. 27 media roundtable.
“The bus hasn’t left the station to join the fund, and we expect more to join up,” he said.
Recommendations for NATO to launch such a venture capital fund, and a technology accelerator outfit reminiscent of the U.S. Defense Advanced Research Projects Agency (DARPA), were included in a 2020 report by NATO’s advisory group on emerging and disruptive technologies.
The alliance agreed to launch the DIANA accelerator at NATO’s annual summit, held last June in Brussels. Both the accelerator outfit and the innovation fund will have headquarters based in both North America and Europe, and several nations have already offered to host the facilities.
The plan is for a separate company to run the “day-to-day” operations of the innovation fund, but that partner has yet to be selected, van Weel said. “It is going to be professional venture capitalists that are going to run this fund — that could either be an existing company, or we would recruit an experienced general partner to run this,” he added.
The offices are expected to be in place next year, and both DIANA and the fund are scheduled to be “fully in effect” by NATO’s next summit, June 29-30 in Madrid, per the alliance.
Meanwhile, the allies also agreed on NATO’s first-ever artificial intelligence strategy, which has been in the works since early 2021. “It will set standards for responsible use of artificial intelligence, in accordance with international law, outline how we will accelerate the adoption of artificial intelligence in what we do, set out how we will protect this technology, and address the threats posed by the use of artificial intelligence by adversaries,” Stoltenberg said.
NATO released a summary of the strategy on Oct. 22, and it includes four sections: Principles of responsible use of artificial intelligence in defense; ensuring the safe and responsible use of allied AI; minimizing interference in allied AI; and standards.
It also lays out the six principles of AI use that member-nations should follow. They include: lawfulness; responsibility and accountability; explainability and traceability; reliability; governability; and bias mitigation.
The nascent DIANA outfit will host specialized AI test centers that will help NATO ensure standards are being kept as member-nations develop new platforms and systems and encourage interoperability, van Weel noted. That way, NATO creates “a common ecosystem where all allies have access to the same levels of AI,” he said.
NATO will also form a data and artificial intelligence review board with representatives from all member-nations, to ensure the “operationalization” of the AI strategy, he added. “The principles are all great, but they only mean something if we’re able to actually translate that into how the technology is being developed, and then used.”
NATO eventually plans to develop strategies for tackling each of the seven key emerging and disruptive technology (EDT) categories, van Weel told Defense News earlier this year. Having that strategy in place would allow the partnership to begin implementing AI capabilities into military requirements, and ensure interoperability for NATO-based and allied systems, he said at the time.
Data exploitation framework
Member-nations also agreed to a new policy that treats data as a “strategic asset,” and sets a framework for both NATO headquarter-generated data and national data to be exploited across the alliance in a responsible fashion, van Weel said. The data and AI review board will serve as a quasi “Chief Data Officer” that ensures the alliance’s data, wherever it originates from, is stored securely and adheres to the principles agreed to by NATO’s members.
“This is step one … to create a trust basis for allies to make them actually want them to share data, knowing that it is stored in a secure place, [and] that we have principles of responsible use,” van Weel said.
It remains to be seen how each country will contribute to the innovation fund or the tech accelerator, but at least one ally already has some ideas.
Estonia has built up experience working with startups, and has invested heavily in cybersecurity technologies since the Baltic nation faced a wave of cyber attacks. That instance led to the creation of the NATO Cooperative Cyber Defence Centre of Excellence in Tallinn.
That center could play a key role in the alliance’s EDT efforts, particularly related to technologies like AI that will require a “basis” in cyber, said Tuuli Vors, counsellor to the Estonian delegation to NATO.
With cyber, “we build so many different technological areas or sectors,” she said in an interview with Defense News in Brussels. Having the cyber defense center in Tallinn “can be used for the benefit of this initiative, or for the allies in a general way.”
“We have this right mindset, we are flexible,” she said. “I think it’s one of the key competencies, to bring together the private sector with the government … and the civil sector.”
“We all know that these technological developments and the real breaks, these are in the private sector,” she noted. “So therefore, we need to bring them on board [in a] more effective way.”
Plugging capability gaps
At last month’s ministerial allies also agreed on a specific set of capability targets to achieve jointly, Stoltenberg told reporters in Brussels. That set includes “thousands” of targets, heavier forces and more high-end capabilities.
“Very few of us can have the whole spectrum of capabilities and defense systems,” he said. “One of the really important tasks of NATO … is our ability to coordinate and agree to capability targets, so we can support and help each other as allies.”
Each of the allies spend varying amounts of money on their defense budgets, but each also has expertise that can be shared, Vors said. The innovation fund and DIANA can help provide more effective collaboration among these nations, she added.
“We have expertise in autonomous systems or cyber defense, … we can share it to somewhere where it’s lacking, and we can have from them CBRN [chemical, biological, radioactive and nuclear] defense technology,” she said. “So it’s making this network.” (Source: C4ISR & Networks)
02 Nov 21. Poor UK military procurement repeatedly wastes billions, MPs say. Spending watchdog claims the MoD ‘continually fails to learn from its mistakes.’ “Broken” military procurement practices at the UK Ministry of Defence have repeatedly resulted in billions of pounds of taxpayer money being wasted, a parliamentary committee has claimed. A report by the House of Commons public accounts committee found the MoD “continually fails to learn from its mistakes” despite having overseen many expensive failures. MPs on the committee said they were “deeply concerned” by the department’s “inability or unwillingness” to answer basic questions and give a frank assessment of the state of its main programmes. They added that they were “extremely disappointed and frustrated by the continued poor track record of the MoD and its suppliers”. The report concluded there was “wastage of taxpayers’ money running into the billions”, but it did not give a total because the MPs said much of the wastage can only be calculated in retrospect.
The Treasury and the Cabinet Office should be brought in to review the MoD’s model for delivering equipment capabilities, it recommended. “The department’s system for delivering major equipment capabilities is broken and is repeatedly wasting taxpayers’ money,” the MPs said. MPs’ concerns over the MoD’s poor procurement practices have been heightened by high-profile problems with a £5.5bn programme for a family of armoured vehicles for the army, known as Ajax. The vehicles, equipped with the latest digital sensors that would increase battlefield surveillance, were meant to be part of the army’s transition to an era of high-tech warfare. The UK signed a contract with US defence contractor General Dynamics in 2014 for 589 vehicles. Deliveries of Ajax should have started four years ago but so far none has entered service. Instead, the vehicles have been beset by noise and excessive vibration problems, prompting concerns they could cause lasting hearing damage to their crews. The issues are so acute that ministers have come under pressure to cancel the contract. Jeremy Quin, defence procurement minister, in September conceded that he could not “100 per cent guarantee” that a resolution would be found. The department is waiting for the results of independent trials of the vehicles. In reference to the programme, the public accounts committee said the department was not sufficiently open on its progress and had no timescale for when the vehicles would be ready for service. “The department’s refusal to explain the magnitude of its financial exposure in the event of a contract termination demonstrates a disregard for parliament and taxpayers,” it said.
The MPs added that witnesses who had appeared before the committee failed to reassure them they would “not simply throw good money after bad”. They were also unclear on what additional capability the taxpayer would get from the extra £16.5bn set out in last year’s spending review, the report said. Recommended UK politics & policy Secretive MoD ‘banking’ unit helps UK wage economic warfare In June, the National Audit Office published its own report in which it reviewed 20 MoD programmes with a combined forecast cost of £120bn after budget increases had been included. It found that the expected cost of nine programmes rose between the initial business case being put forward and the main investment decision being taken. The analysis also found that 13 programmes were showing cumulative net delays of 21 years in achieving entry into service since being signed. The PAC report said the MoD had so far “failed to assure that it is taking these matters sufficiently seriously or that it can quickly deliver a radical step-change in performance through its improvement plans”. Meg Hillier, the committee chair, said: “MoD senior management appears to have made the calculation that, at the cost of a few uncomfortable hours in front of a select committee, they can get away with leaving one of the largest financial holes in any government department’s budget, not just for now but year after year.” The MoD said: “This report reflects the complex challenges of delivering defence capability for our armed forces, but also the commitment and professionalism required to keep our people and the UK’s interests safe, by purchasing world-class equipment such as Lightning II stealth fighter jets and the Queen Elizabeth aircraft carriers. “We will publish an equipment plan 2021-2031 which will detail our plans over the next 10 years in response to the outcome of the £24bn spending settlement, and the integrated review command paper of March 2021.”
02 Nov 21. Britain pushes Australia to buy its nuclear submarines instead of US rivals. A Royal Navy submarine has visited Australia as Britain pitches to gazump the US and build Canberra a new underwater fleet to counter China in the Pacific.
HMS Astute docked in Perth only weeks after Britain and America signed a security pact with Australia that would see the Asia-Pacific country purchase eight nuclear-powered submarines.
The arrival of the 16,000 tonne hunter-killer vessel offers Britain a chance to push its case to build similar submarines against stiff American competition, analysts have said.
Ben Wallace, Defence Secretary, said Australia was at the heart of Britain’s tilt to project more military power in the Pacific and the two navies “have enjoyed a close and mutually beneficial relationship for over a hundred years”.
The head of the Australian navy said the visit was “timely”. It marks the first time in a decade a British nuclear-powered submarine has docked in the country. (Source: Daily Telegraph)
29 Oct 21. France, U.S. seek to ease tension over arms export rules. France and the United States agreed on Friday to explore making arms export rules more effective, addressing a long-running source of friction as their leaders met for the first time since a spat over a U.S. security pact with Britain and Australia.
“The presidents intend to launch a U.S.-France defense trade strategic dialogue to foster a shared view on defense market access and export issues,” U.S. President Joe Biden and French President Emmanuel Macron said in a joint statement after talks in Rome on the sidelines of a G20 summit. read more
The two governments pledged to “identify steps to improve the efficiency and effectiveness of defense export authorizations,” the statement added.
France has been seeking clarity over a set of U.S. arms export controls known as the International Traffic in Arms Regulations (ITAR), which allow Washington to block the re-export of sensitive U.S. components embedded in foreign weapons.
French and European defense companies have blamed ITAR for hampering their exports to third countries in the past, while U.S. arms firms have campaigned to keep the rules flexible enough to avoid putting too tight a lid on their own arms sales.
“We reached a number of bilateral cooperation agreements, several of which are critical in my view, firstly on arms exports,” Macron told reporters after meeting Biden.
“Why? Because we need to clarify the ITAR rules, failing which our policies can be blocked completely. So we opened a process to deconflict the issue and work together.”
A spokeperson for the State Dept, which oversees ITAR export controls, declined comment on diplomatic negotiations.
There have been sporadic attempts by European nations to make their weapons “ITAR-free” to bypass the rules, but defence analysts have questioned how feasible this is given the vast amount of U.S.-made high-tech components in aerospace.
Former U.S. officials say any changes to France’s treatment under the rules may require a treaty, a key potential hurdle.
Tensions over ITAR controls flared in 2012 when French defense group Thales (TCFP.PA) hit a roadblock over the export of satellites launched by Chinese rockets.
Negotiations to sell Dassault-built Rafale fighters from France to Egypt were reported to have been delayed in 2018 because of ITAR restrictions on their missiles.
The global reach of the regulations re-emerged last year when France-based planemaker Airbus (AIR.PA) was fined for ITAR violations as part of a multinational corruption settlement. (Source: glstrade.com/Reuters)
01 Nov 21. Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons: UK report for the 10th review conference. Minister James Cleverly gave a written ministerial statement to Parliament on the publication of the UK national report for the 2022 NPT review conference.
Today the UK published its National Report ahead of the 10th Review Conference of the Parties to the Treaty on the Non-Proliferation of Nuclear Weapons (NPT). This report reviews the progress that the UK has made against the NPT’s 3 pillars: disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear energy. It will be submitted to the UN before the 10th Review Conference that will take place in New York in January 2022.
The UK’s commitment to the Treaty and to fulfilling our NPT obligations remains undiminished. As an original signatory of the NPT, and a Nuclear Weapon State that takes its responsibilities seriously, the UK remains committed to the long-term goal of a world without nuclear weapons where all states share in the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies.
The NPT has been an unmitigated success for over 50 years. It is the centre of international efforts to stop the spread of nuclear weapons, to create a nuclear weapon-free world, and to enable access to the peaceful use of nuclear technology.
Despite its successes, we should not underestimate the challenges facing the global nuclear order. We have previously identified risks to the UK from major nuclear armed states, emerging nuclear states and state-sponsored nuclear terrorism. Those risks have not gone away; some have increased. We face a deteriorating nuclear security environment. The increase in global competition, challenges to the international order, and the proliferation of nuclear weapons pose a significant challenge to strategic stability. We must work to reverse this trend. The NPT will be central to this and we must continue to work with others to reinforce the parts of the international architecture that are under threat. We must also shape the international order of the future so that it can respond effectively.
We are proud of our contributions to the NPT and the steps we have taken since the last Review Conference in 2015.
We have played a leading role by pioneering work in nuclear disarmament verification, championing transparency and advancing risk reduction. We continue to work closely with international partners, civil society and academia to enhance mutual trust and confidence and create the environment for further progress on disarmament. We continue to press for significant steps towards multilateral disarmament. This includes the entry into force of the Comprehensive Nuclear Test Ban Treaty, and successful negotiations on a Fissile Material Cut-Off Treaty in the Conference on Disarmament. We possess the smallest stockpile of any of the Nuclear Weapon States recognised by the NPT and are the only one to maintain a single delivery system. Maintaining the UK’s nuclear deterrent capability at a minimum credible level, taking into account the international environment, is fully consistent with our international legal obligations, including those under Article VI of the NPT.
The UK continues to be a strong supporter of the International Atomic Energy Agency (IAEA), which underpins non-proliferation under the NPT. We have sought to strengthen the international nuclear safeguards system, through our diplomatic efforts and through direct assistance from our Nuclear Safeguards Programme. The Review Conference offers opportunities to encourage all states that have not yet done so to sign, ratify and implement safeguards agreements. We seek new opportunities to enhance the security of nuclear materials, ensuring these arrangements remain robust and evolve to meet new threats. We will promote the ratification of security conventions at the Review Conference and continue to provide direct assistance to other states through our Global Nuclear Security Programme.
Finally yet importantly, we want to highlight the sometimes-overlooked part of the NPT: the peaceful uses of nuclear technologies. The UK has encouraged and will continue to encourage the development and exchange of peaceful nuclear technologies enabled by the NPT. This has a positive impact on people’s lives through nuclear medicine, food safety and pest control. Nuclear technologies have a critical part to play in tackling climate change – not only in helping to achieve Net Zero, but also through nuclear applications that can help countries to adapt and become more resilient to climate change.
Looking towards the 10th Review Conference, the UK seeks an outcome that strengthens the NPT as the irreplaceable foundation and framework for our common efforts on nuclear disarmament, non-proliferation and the peaceful uses of nuclear technology. The UK is ready to work with all countries to strengthen the regime and to promote international stability, peace and security.
A copy of the report has been placed in the Libraries of both Houses and on the GOV.UK website. (Source: https://www.gov.uk/)
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