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Author: Subject: British Defence matters, 2017 onwards
bug2
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[*] posted on 17-5-2018 at 11:04 PM


Defence Committee Publish Government Response On Amphibious Capability

(Source: House of Commons Defence Committee; issued May 16, 2018)

The Defence Committee publishes its Sixth Special Report on The Royal Marines and UK amphibious capability [HC 1044].

Following the initiation of the National Security Capability Review in 2017, reports began emerging that substantial cuts in the Royal Marines and the disposal of both of the Royal Navy’s specialist amphibious assault ships fifteen years early were being considered by the Government as part of the review. The Defence Committee resolved to inquire into amphibious forces and their importance to UK Defence.

The Committee’s report, published in February 2018, concluded that such reductions would be “militarily illiterate” and “totally at odds with strategic reality”. It emphasised that the UK’s amphibious capability is a military specialism of the highest value in current and future operations, and that further cuts to an already reduced force would end its status as one of the UK’s leading strategic assets.

The Government’s response repeatedly re-states the Government’s commitment to the future of the UK’s amphibious forces but gives no guarantee that there will be no future cuts in the numbers of Royal Marines or amphibious ships.

The response seeks to maintain the Government’s position that the Queen Elizabeth class aircraft carriers can take the place of specialised amphibious vessels, such as HMS Ocean which was recently sold to Brazil. The evidence the Committee gathered in the course of its inquiry clearly demonstrates that amphibious operations require specially configured warships manned by highly-trained amphibious specialists. Anything less results in exposing vessels and the personnel manning them to an unreasonable level of operational risk.

Although equipment and manpower requirements will vary with each operation, the response does not adequately address the Committee’s point that reductions to the amphibious force can only further limit the range of options available to a commander on operations. The diversifying threats that the UK is facing should mandate an increase, rather than a decrease, in theatre-entry capabilities.

Chair's comments

Commenting on the publication of the Government’s response, the Chairman of the Defence Committee, Rt Hon Dr Julian Lewis said:

"Through its ongoing Modernising Defence Programme, the Government has the opportunity to re-examine the assets that we need to meet our strategic priorities and ensure our national security. We hope that the Ministry of Defence will reflect on the flexibility and range of capability offered by the UK’s amphibious forces and make firm commitments that no further damaging reductions will take place."

Click here for the Government Response (17 PDF pages) to the report on The Royal Marines and UK amphibious capability, on the UK Parliament website.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmdf...

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[*] posted on 22-5-2018 at 09:18 PM


UK nuclear programmes face GBP2.9 billion affordability gap

Tim Ripley, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

22 May 2018

UK nuclear submarine and weapons programmes are facing a GBP2.9 billion (USD3.9 billion) funding gap over the next decade, according to a report by the country’s spending watchdog.

The funding shortfall was revealed by the National Audit Office (NAO) on 22 May in its “The Defence Nuclear Enterprise: A Landscape Review” report, which encompasses efforts to build four new Dreadnought-class ballistic missile-firing submarines, four more Astute-class attack submarines, the sustainment of the UK stockpile of nuclear warheads, and the development of a new class of attack submarines.

The NAO said it expected that GBP50.9 billion would need to be spent over the next decade on nuclear-related programmes but the Ministry of Defence (MoD) had only forecast spending GBP43.9 billion.

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[*] posted on 23-5-2018 at 01:00 PM


British defense chief puts a price tag on US military alliance

By: Andrew Chuter   6 hours ago


British Army Sgt. Thapa Kumar, right, instructs U.S. Army Staff Sgt. Jeffery Lamb during a joint tactical patrol during exercise Stoney Run in the Sennelager Training Area, Germany, on April 24, 2018. (William B. King/U.S. Army)

LONDON ― Britain’s defense secretary has put at least a £3 billion-a-year (U.S. $4 billion) price tag on the value of the country’s close military relationship with the US, but conceded that the arrangement was priceless to the government.

“We benefit massively from our relationship with the U.S. I said you couldn’t actually put a price on it, but when you look at [it] in terms of the benefits we get on a yearly basis I think we would benefit to the tune of a very minimum of £3 billion, and that is taking a very conservative approach,” Gavin Williamson told the parliamentary Defence Committee on Tuesday.

Williamson said the benefits came in “terms of technology, in terms of joint programs working together. Quite frankly we would always struggle to put that level of investment into a program if we wanted to bring it to fruition, so we are a massive beneficiary of this relationship.”

The remarks come as the committee concluded an inquiry into British relations with the U.S. and NATO. The findings of the report are expected to be published in the next few months.

The defense secretary earlier in the day announced the Ministry of Defence had on May 21 hosted a meeting with the U.S. Defense Innovation Board in London aimed at sharing, among other things, innovation priorities.

Britain’s relationship with the U.S. could take a serious hit, however, should media reports from last week prove true ― that London is considering cutting its pledge to buy 138 Lockheed Martin F-35 fighter jets and instead purchase more of the cheaper Eurofighter Typhoons as part of its defense review, officially known as the Defence Modernisation Programme.

One British newspaper described the possible move as “an epic snub” to Washington.

Williamson also announced Britain’s investment in the creation of what will be called the AI Lab ― a defense center for artificial intelligence, machine learning and data science based at the MoD’s Defence Science and Technology Laboratory facility in Porton Down, southwest England.

With the cash-strapped MoD expected to publish the defense review ahead of the NATO summit in Brussels scheduled for July 11, lawmakers wanted to know whether Washington had voiced an opinion about British defense spending.

Williamson said the U.S. Defense Department and others in the states had contributed to the defense review, but the subject of money hadn’t been on the agenda formally or informally.

“What they have asked is to make sure we have the right capabilities. But we have not had a discussion about defense spending. ... They have put a very high value on the capabilities we have, and they would be very concerned to see that capability eroded,” Williamson told the committee.

The defense secretary specifically noted “massive ticket items that the U.S. sees as pivotal for the defense and security of NATO members”:

- Rapid deployment of troops as part of NATO.
- Special forces.
- The new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carrier battle group.
- The nuclear deterrent.
- Countering the uptick in Russian submarine activity in the North Atlantic.

Williamson also mentioned the Royal Navy’s mine-hunting capabilities and said Britain is a world leader in terms of technological development done in partnership with the U.S., asserting that in some cases the U.S. is further behind Britain.

Under the Obama administration, senior U.S. military and diplomatic figures voiced concern over Britain’s declining defense capabilities as spending slipped close to falling below the NATO-set spending target of 2 percent of gross domestic product.

“They [the U.S. administration] recognize that our commitment to 2 percent is something to be praised and is an important signal to other European nations to be spending at that same level,” Williamson said.

Earlier this month, Woody Johnson, the U.S. ambassador in London, urged Britain to increase its defense spending.

The Defence Modernisation Programme is meant to prioritize British capabilities and programs, in part to reflect the rapidly changing threat posed by Russia and others since the Strategic Defence and Security Review was published in 2015.

The MoD, which is facing a multibillion pound black hole in the defense equipment and other budgets over the next few years, will have to find significant cuts from efficiency gains and other measures to balance the books. The department is also fighting for more money from the Treasury to stave off cuts.

Defense funding problems took a new knock Tuesday when the National Audit Office, a government-spending watchdog, warned that the program to design, build and support nuclear submarines over the next 10 years faces a £6 billion funding gap.

The NAO said the nuclear submarine program, principally the building of four Dreadnought-class nuclear missile submarines, could face delays and cost overruns partly caused by a lack of nuclear engineering skills and the complexity of the project.
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[*] posted on 23-5-2018 at 01:02 PM


The talk of buying MORE Typhoons, instead of F-35B's, I find incredulously ridiculous, especially seeing as the Cost Savings resultant would minimal...........!!!
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[*] posted on 24-5-2018 at 11:37 AM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
The talk of buying MORE Typhoons, instead of F-35B's, I find incredulously ridiculous, especially seeing as the Cost Savings resultant would minimal...........!!!


Being pushed by ‘partisan’ Euro defence hawks, that’s about it.

Even the British industrial angle is rubbish, when you see how much of the truly advanced capability on the F-35 is British made...





In a low speed post-merge manoeuvring fight, with a high off-boresight 4th generation missile and Helmet Mounted Display, the Super Hornet will be a very difficult opponent for any current Russian fighter, even the Su-27/30
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[*] posted on 25-5-2018 at 02:15 PM


Defence Secretary Blasted Over Lack of Protection for British Troops

(Source: British Forces News; issued May 23, 2018)

Fucking ridiculous! :thumbdown: :thumbdown: :thumbdown:

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been blasted over a lack of protection for British troops from criminal prosecution in the wake of new plans to examine cases from Northern Ireland's Troubles.

Former British Army officer Johnny Mercer MP said that the Ministry of Defence had failed to act over battlefield immunity more than a year after the controversial £60 million Iraq Historic Allegations Team (IHAT) was closed down.

Earlier this month Northern Ireland Secretary Karen Bradley sparked a political row by unveiling a consultation on the toxic legacy of the Troubles that did not include an amnesty for members of the security forces.

Mr Mercer, who served in Afghanistan during 12 years in the army, questioned Mr Williamson when he appeared in front of the Defence Committee on Tuesday.

The Plymouth Moor View MP praised Mr Williamson's predecessor Sir Michael Fallon for showing "political courage" in shutting down IHAT, which was found to have subjected troops to "deeply disturbing" treatment and had "directly harmed" UK defences.

Mr Mercer asked the Defence Secretary: "The idea that servicemen and women can go around committing crimes is ludicrous and no-one is asking for that.

"But if we don't have a formalised structure of getting this process done, like a statute of limitations, it will never end.

"The profoundly disappointing thing from your department... is that they didn't look at IHAT and think 'right that is a series of bad decisions that have left us in a very bad place' and done something about it.

"I have seen nothing over the last 12 months from your department that says in any way we have changed our view or we take seriously what we put our people through. Why is there no urgency in Government to get this sorted out?"

Last week, Mrs Bradley insisted there was "no support" in the region for a "Northern Ireland-only statute of limitations", as she launched a public consultation on other proposals to address unresolved issues from the past.

It prompted anger from MPs, with another Tory ex-army officer Bob Stewart accusing the Government of trying to "mollify Sinn Fein using old men who ran huge risks for all of us as collateral".

Mr Williamson, who replaced Sir Michael in November, said he wanted to look at issues involving service personnel who served in conflicts from the 1950s Mau Mau rebellion in Kenya through the Northern Ireland troubles.

He added: "There is a slightly bigger issue that I think we do need to start looking at in order to make sure that the issues of combat immunity are properly addressed."

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[*] posted on 26-5-2018 at 01:55 PM


Ministry of Defence Nuclear Programme Inquiry

(Source: Commons Public Accounts Committee; issued May 25, 2018)

The Royal Navy has operated a continuous at-sea nuclear deterrent for 49 years. The UK’s current Vanguard-class submarines are due to be replaced from the early 2030s by new Dreadnought-class submarines. As of March 2018, the National Audit Office estimated 30,000 people were involved in the structures and industries that support the deterrent, known as the Nuclear Enterprise.

A recent National Audit Office report has evaluated the scale of the Nuclear Enterprise and challenges it may face. It expects a total spend on supporting the Nuclear Enterprise of £50.9 billion between 2018 and 2028—£2.9 billion more than the available budget. This figure assumes the Department will manage to make £3 billion in efficiency savings over the next decade.

The Department also must fill 337 important skills gaps to support the Enterprise whilst managing a complex supply chain of four main contractors (BAE Systems, Babcock, Rolls-Royce and AWE Management Ltd) and approximately 1,500 subcontractors.

The Committee has previously expressed concerns about management of the Defence budget. The Committee will take evidence from the Ministry of Defence and Submarine Delivery Agency to explore whether the Nuclear Enterprise is sustainable, and what they can do to ensure that new submarines are delivered on time and on budget.

(EDITOR’S NOTE/ On May 22, Public Accounts Committee Chair Meg Hillier MP has commented on the National Audit Office report on the Defence Nuclear Enterprise issued that day.

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[*] posted on 9-6-2018 at 12:39 PM


UK parliamentarians push for defence spending

Tim Ripley, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

08 June 2018

Two senior UK House of Commons committee chairs have written an unprecedented joint letter to Prime Minister Theresa May pushing for more defence spending.

Meg Hillier, the Labour chair of the Public Accounts Committee, and Julian Lewis, the Conservative chair of the Defence Committee, expressed concern that the Modernising Defence Programme defence review would “not be able to deliver” the additional capabilities required to respond to new threats and undertake necessary organisational reforms within the existing budget.

“The existing affordability gap affecting traditional defence equipment and support programmes, combined with the intensification of new threats such as cyber, chemical, and biological attacks, risk undermining UK national security as well as our ability to play an effective role in the world,” the letter said.

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[*] posted on 9-6-2018 at 10:03 PM


Plans for Future Defence Co-Operation with EU Needs Clarification

(Source: House of Common Defence Select Committee; issued June 08, 2018)

The Defence Select Committee calls for further clarity from the Government on how Britain will co-operate with the European Union on Defence issues during and after Brexit.

Its latest report, entitled, "The Government’s proposals for a future security partnership with the European Union", examines the EU's plans for Defence co-operation, the mechanisms being constructed to put this into practice and the circumstances under which the UK Government plans to engage with them after Brexit. It includes a timeline of the proposals and describes the intended shape of Permanent Structured Co-operation (PESCO), the European Defence Fund (EDF) and the Co-ordinated Annual Review on Defence (CARD).

Questions for the Government

The Committee identifies sixteen key questions for the Government to answer, covering inter alia:
-- How future cooperation with EU Defence institutions will be different from the UK’s current Defence relationship with the EU.

-- Under what circumstances the UK would take part in a CSDP (Common Security and Defence Policy) operation or mission.

-- What model the Government is proposing to ensure that the Future Defence Partnership supports the effective co-operation of UK and EU Defence companies; does not disrupt complex supply chains; and does not disadvantage leading companies with EU-UK ownership.

-- What role the Government plans to play post-Brexit in the relationship between the EU and NATO.

The full list of questions can be found here.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmdf...

Chair's comments

Chairman of the Defence Committee, Dr Julian Lewis MP, says: "It is vital that Parliament fully understands what the Government is proposing for its Future Defence Partnership with the EU after Brexit. Our Report sets out everything we can glean, so far, from the Government’s public statements and identifies key areas where more clarity is essential. These include whether the UK will decide to participate in future military missions with the EU only on a case-by-case basis and only if we are then able to participate fully in the planning and execution of such missions.

“We trust that the Government will use its formal response to our detailed questions as an opportunity to shed more light on its intentions."

Click here for the full report (43 PDF pages) on the UK Parliament website.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmdf...

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[*] posted on 15-6-2018 at 06:51 PM


UK jet expert held over 'Chinese plot for military secrets'

14th June 2018 - 13:45 GMT | by ​Agence France-Presse in London

British police confirmed on 14 June they had arrested a man under the Official Secrets Act amid reports of a feared Chinese plot against F-35B stealth fighter jets.

Bryn Jones, 73, a former Rolls-Royce chief combustion technologist, was arrested after the security services received intelligence that classified information may have been passed to Beijing, The Sun newspaper reported.

British plane engines manufacturer Rolls-Royce, based in Derby, central England, carried out top-secret work on the take-off and vertical landing system for the F-35B Lightning II supersonic jet, being built by US defence firm Lockheed Martin.

A spokesperson for London's Metropolitan Police told AFP that they had made an arrest in Derbyshire on 12 June as part of an investigation under the Official Secrets Act.

British police do not confirm the identity of suspects who have not been charged with an offence.

The spokesperson said: ‘The man, who is in his 70s and worked within private industry, was taken to a police station in Derbyshire. He was released under investigation later that evening.

‘Police officers executed a search warrant at an address in the West Midlands, which is now complete. A search at an address in Derbyshire is ongoing. We are not prepared to discuss further at this stage given the nature of the investigation.’

Jones lists himself on the LinkedIn professional social network as a visiting professor at the Aeronautical University of Xian in central China.

His page says he worked for Rolls-Royce from 1968 to 2003.
The Sun pictured plain-clothes officers at his home near Derby and said police removed boxes.

Jones declined to comment when contacted at his home by the Press Association news agency.

Contacted by AFP, Rolls-Royce said they could not comment on an ongoing police investigation.

Proponents of the F-35 tout its speed, close air-support capabilities, airborne agility and a massive array of sensors giving pilots unparallelled access to information.

Nine international partners including Britain, Canada and Turkey are helping pay for the jet's development and are buying hundreds more of the planes.

The F35-B has short take-off and vertical landing capabilities and Britain received delivery of its first four jets in the week of 4 June 2018.

A replacement for the Harrier G9 and the Tornado GR4, it is intended to be Britain's primary strike attack aircraft over the next three decades.
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[*] posted on 16-6-2018 at 09:08 AM


If he finished at Rolls in 2003 then that was well before the F35 engine was finalised.



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[*] posted on 16-6-2018 at 01:56 PM


The inference is that he got info much later than that...................I suspect that it's NOT the last we will hear about this matter....................................
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[*] posted on 19-6-2018 at 05:51 PM


Defence Review Must Be Built on Firm Strategic and Financial Foundations

(Source: House of Commons Defence Committee; issued June 18, 2018)

The Ministry of Defence’s Modernising Defence Programme (MDP) must address the challenges presented by the resurgence of state-based threats and be supported by a fully-funded and sustainable financial settlement, says a report published by the Defence Committee.

The report, entitled “Beyond 2 per cent,” has been produced ahead of the anticipated release of ‘high-level findings’ by the MDP, towards the end of June. It examines how the process has proceeded and highlights areas, including capability, commercial practices, recruitment and international partnerships, which the Committee expects the review to consider.

The report explores how the MDP had its origins in the decision taken in mid-2017 to initiate the National Security Capability Review (NSCR) in response to the development of new and intensified threats facing the United Kingdom. The aim of the NSCR was to ‘refresh’ the findings of the 2015 Strategic Defence and Security Review and look again at capabilities across 12 broad areas of national security policy, including Defence.

However, the ‘fiscally neutral’ nature of the NSCR meant that any new resources applied to some aspects of national security would entail reductions in resources available to others – even though the emergence of new threats had not been accompanied by the disappearance of pre- existing ones.

The procedural and financial restrictions of the NSCR led to a range of options being produced which would have resulted in substantial cuts in defence capability across the Armed Forces, such the potential loss of the specialist assault ships HMS Albion and HMS Bulwark. The Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson, who later described the NSCR as a ‘straightjacket’, succeeded in having the Defence element of the NSCR taken out and then initiated the MDP.

The Committee’s report congratulates him for taking this bold step. The MDP is seen as an opportunity to review comprehensively the UK’s strategic position and the military requirements which flow from that analysis. It can, in this way, be a fully strategy-led exercise, reflecting the increase in the range and intensity of threats posed by state actors, in addition to ongoing international terrorist campaigns.

According to the report, failing to finance Defence on a sustainable basis will continue to result in supposedly settled policy having to be revisited. This makes the implementation of long-term strategy very difficult and fuels the impression that Defence is inherently financially unstable.

The report concludes that the only solution is to move spending on Defence closer to 3% of GDP (Emphasis added—Ed.) – approaching the level of investment made by the UK from the end of the Cold War until the mid-1990s. This could produce a long-term settlement providing strategic and financial stability. Although further reform within the scope of the MDP will be necessary, for the MoD to prove that it can be the ‘responsible owner’ of a new settlement, it should not be based on elusive and ambitious ‘efficiency savings’ in order to make ends meet.

Chair's comments

Dr Julian Lewis, Defence Committee chairman, said: "We hope that our report will assist in sparking debate and focusing minds on priorities that should be considered by the Modernising Defence Programme. The Secretary of State was right to remove Defence from the National Security Capability Review which would otherwise have resulted in further disastrous cuts to the Armed Forces, and we endorse his efforts to obtain a better settlement for Defence.

“The Government now needs to look beyond the two per cent minimum on Defence spending, and begin moving towards a figure of three per cent, to place our defence policy on a sustainable basis to meet new threats and fill existing financial ‘black holes’. Defence is constantly described as the first duty of government. The MDP is the government’s opportunity to show that it means what it says."

Click here for the full report (50 PDF pages) on the UK Parliament website.

https://publications.parliament.uk/pa/cm201719/cmselect/cmdf...

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[*] posted on 27-6-2018 at 09:30 AM


Maintaining UK and US military relationship could cost Britain more than $10 billion a year

By: Andrew Chuter   9 hours ago


U.S. and U.K. troops participate in a validation exercise to test leader proficiency, communication interoperability and coordination with adjacent units. (Sgt. Devon Bistarkey/U.S. Army Maryland National Guard)

LONDON — Britain needs to raise defense spending by over £8 billion a year, or U.S. $10.59 billion, to not undermine the military relationship with the U.S. says a report by the parliamentary defence committee.

The report, which looks at the U.K.’s defense relations with the U.S. and NATO, recommends Britain increases the percentage of gross domestic product being allocated to the military first to 2.5 percent and eventually 3 percent if the country is to maintain the military relationship with the U.S. and keep its leading role in NATO.

“The U.K. armed forces and the Treasury benefit from our close relationship with the U.S. However, that will continue to be true only while the U.K. military retains both the capacity and capability to maintain interoperability with the U.S. military and to relieve U.S. burdens. For this to be the case the U.K. armed forces must be funded appropriately,” said the report released June 26.

The lawmakers urged a significant rise in a defense budget which currently just manages to squeeze above the 2 percent of gross domestic product demanded by NATO for defense spending.

“We calculate that raising defence spending to 2.5% of GDP would result in a forecast spend of £50 billion per annum and raising it to 3% of GDP would take this to £60 billion per annum,” said the lawmakers.

The defense budget this year is set at £37 billion with small real term increases expected annually up to 2022.

A rise to 3 percent would see defence spending return to a level — in GDP percentage terms — that has not been seen since 1995.

The release of the document comes at a bad time for anyone advocating increases in defense spending here.

Last week Chancellor Philip Hammond, an ex-defense secretary, revealed plans to spend an additional £20 billion a year on health care and made it clear that there was little or nothing left to bolster the finances of other departments, including defense.

Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson has been battling for months to secure additional funding to fill a black hole that the National Audit Office, the government’s financial watchdog, has previously estimated could be anything between £4.8 billion and £20 billion in equipment spending alone over the next decade.

The exact amount depends to some degree on how much the military can save in efficiency improvements and reprioritizing and cutting capabilities and programs.

The headline outcomes of a Minstry of Defence review into the future size and shape of British forces, officially called the Modernising Defence Programme, could come at the NATO summit scheduled for Brussels starting July 11.

Media reports Sunday on the defense funding battle highlighted the seemingly growing rift between Williamson and senior government figures over the issue.

The reports followed strong denials from Prime Minister Theresa May last week that the government here was considering a watering down of Britain’s ‘tier-one’ status as a military power after the Financial Times reported that May asked Williamson to justify continuance of that position.

The U.S, Britain, China, Russia and France are the only nations with a tier one status — which basically means they are able to fight nuclear, conventional and other conflicts around the world.

The committee said military-to-military engagement between the U.K. and the U.S. was one of the linchpins of the bilateral relationship between the two nations.

The report said the U.K. benefits greatly from the width and depth of the U.K.-U.S. defense and security relationship, but such a relationship requires a degree of interoperability that can be sustained only through investment in U.K. armed forces.

The importance of the military relationship between the U.S. and Europe’s leading military power also extends into NATO.

Lawmakers said the relationship is vital to the functioning of NATO while the U.K.’s leading contribution to the alliance helps to sustain the relationship between London and Washington.

Julian Lewis, the Defence Committee chairman, said in a statement:

“Defence spending is an area where a strong message needs to be sent to our allies and adversaries alike. The Government has consistently talked about increasing the U.K.’s commitment to NATO after our departure from the European Union. An increased commitment, in the face of new and intensified threats, means that further investment is essential,” said Lewis.

The warning in the report over the risks to the military relationship between London and Washington follows a similar warning in February by U.S. Defense Secretary James Mattis that Britain had to retain a credible military if the relationship between the two nations was to endure and strengthen.

Williamson said that in financial terms alone the U.K. benefits to the tune of £3 billion a year from the U.K.-U.S. defense relationship.

John Spellar MP, the Defence Committee’s senior Labour Party member and former armed forces minister said the inquiry has “underlined the importance of the U.K.-U.S. relationship in the area of defense and security and emphasizes the benefit which the U.K. receives as a result.”

“We have heard that there are perceptions in the U.S. that the U.K.’s defense capabilities have slipped and that concerns have been raised about the U.K.’s ability to operate independently.

We need to challenge this perception and the Modernising Defence Programme is an excellent opportunity to do so,” said Spellar.
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[*] posted on 28-6-2018 at 09:24 AM


‘Autonomous Warrior’ experiment to start in autumn

Melanie Rovery, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

27 June 2018

The ‘Autonomous Warrior’ 2018 Army Warfighting Experiment (AWE18) will begin on 12 November in the Salisbury Plain Training Area. The month-long exercise will include a battlegroup from 1 Armoured Infantry Brigade, which will provide the exercising troops and take responsibility for command and control.

Minister of State for the Armed Forces Mark Lancaster described the programme as “a rapid new approach to securing operational advantage”. The exercise is designed to put some of the industry’s most innovative ideas of robotic and autonomous systems (RAS) through their paces. Lancaster added, “Ground-breaking innovation in AI [artificial Intelligence], unmanned and autonomous vehicles, force protection, and situational awareness will be tested to its] limits in one of the toughest simulated operational environments.”

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[*] posted on 3-7-2018 at 09:14 PM


US defence secretary intervenes in UK military budget row

James Mattis hints Britain could be replaced by France as Washington’s closest ally


James Mattis says the UK needs to invest and maintain robust military capability. Photograph: Matt Dunham/AP

The US defence secretary, James Mattis, has made a surprise intervention in the row over UK defence spending by warning France could replace the UK as Washington’s closest military ally in Europe.

In a leaked letter to the British defence secretary, Gavin Williamson, Mattis expressed concern the UK’s military power was at risk of erosion and compared the UK unfavourably with France, which Mattis pointed out had committed to significant increases in defence spending.

“As global actors, France and the US have concluded that now is the time to significantly increase our investment in defense. Other allies are following suit,” he said.

“It is in the best interest of both our nations for the UK to remain the US partner of choice.”

The letter was sent to Williamson on 12 June, three days after a visit by Mattis to London. Williamson would be unlikely to have leaked it without first seeking approval from his American counterpart.

If Mattis sent the letter to help Williamson in his campaign for more money, it marks an unusual departure for a senior US politician, who would normally not intervene in British domestic politics in such a public way.

One of parliament’s most outspoken advocates of funding for the armed forces will criticise Williamson’s tactics in a speech on Tuesday, warning the debate around spending is at risk of becoming debased by negative briefing.

The Conservative MP Jonny Mercer, a former British army officer and member of the defence select committee, will say in a speech at the Royal United Services Institute in London that the “cacophony of newspaper headlines, blackmail and bullying around defence spending is in danger of pushing an extremely serious subject into the absurd”.

“The way some of this has been played out in the public domain has been entirely misinformed, dangerously undermining of any logical and opinion-forming strategy that could win support for more funding, and frankly embarrassing for all concerned,” he will say.

However, Mercer’s speech will also take aim at the government, which he will say is failing to grasp the gravity of the funding issue, and of the strength of feeling around the prosecution of troops for historical offences.

He will warn the UK has “fundamentally changed in the eyes of our adversaries because of underfunding … and our standing internationally is no doubt the poorer for it.”

Donald Trump is pressing all members of Nato to spend more on defence and will make the plea in person at a Nato summit in Brussels next week.

The UK meets the Nato target of spending 2% of GDP on defence, but Theresa May and the chancellor, Philip Hammond, are ruling out any significant increases in spite of pressure from Williamson.

France spends 1.7% of GDP on defence, below the Nato target, but the country’s president, Emmanuel Macron, who is aiming to meet the goal, announced in February that billions more would be spent through to 2025.

Since Trump became president in January 2017, French diplomats and the military have been watching with interest a divergence between London and Washington on a host of issues, raising hopes that it might yet supplant the UK.

The period is in contrast with 2003, when relations between Paris and Washington were strained because France declined to join the US in invading Iraq.

Mattis argued in the letter: “I am concerned that your ability to continue to provide this critical military foundation for diplomatic success is at risk of erosion, while together we face a world awash with change.”

Mattis said that while it is in the best interests of the US and UK that Britain remains the partner of choice, “the UK will need to invest and maintain robust military capability”.

“It is not for me to tell you how to prioritize your domestic spending priorities, but I hope the UK will soon be able to share with us a clear and fully funded forward defence blueprint that will allow me to plan our own future engagement with you from a position of strength and confidence,” he said.

“A global nation like the UK, with interests and commitments around the world, will require a level of defence spending beyond what we would expect from allies with only regional interests. Absent a vibrant military arm, world peace and stability would be at further risk.”

The Treasury has told Williamson he will receive no further increases.

Mattis’s position in the Trump administration is under threat and he has been sidelined on recent key issues.

The UK government is struggling to finalise its defence review before the Nato summit as promised. Unable to agree on more spending, the choice is increasingly between publishing a vague statement of intent or not publishing anything.

A Ministry of Defence spokesman said: “The UK maintains the biggest defence budget in Europe and we have been clear we will continue to exceed Nato’s 2% spending target.

“The defence secretary launched the modernising defence programme to strengthen our armed forces in the face of intensifying threats.”
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[*] posted on 4-7-2018 at 12:02 AM


Senior General Questions Germany Withdrawal

(Source: British Forces News; issued July 02, 2018)

One of Britain's most senior Generals has questioned the drawdown of troops from Germany.

Lieutenant-General Patrick Sanders, who once led the 20th Armoured Infantry Brigade in Paderborn, said he asks himself why the UK is leaving each time he visits.

Speaking at one of the largest parades mounted by the Brigade in Paderborn, the Commander Field Army, said: “Each time I come here I reflect on the amazing military facilities that we have, the sense of military community and the warmth of the local community, the fact that we are close to our allies and we’re on the right side of the Channel and I do ask myself why we’re leaving.

“I really have no idea but we’ve been told to.”

He then gave the strongest hint yet that the Army wants to keep its German training facilities.

He said: “I am determined to maintain the strongest links both personally but also as the British Army with this town.

“These will not be the last British soldiers you see in Paderborn.”

In 2015, the Ministry of Defence confirmed that the final British Field Army units would return to the UK from Germany in 2019.

However, since then there have been suggestions and rumours that the withdrawl could be halted.

The new Chief of the Defence Staff, General Sir Nick Carter, suggested in January that withdrawal could be halted so that troops can maintain quick access to Eastern Europe in the event of Russian hostilities.

The Defence Secretary Gavin Williamson and Gen Carter have since had discussions about retaining some Army facilities in Germany.

If that were to happen, one of Britain’s most senior military men in Germany acknowledged that contingencies are in place.

However, Brigadier Richard Clements quelled rumours of a U-turn on the plans to draw down all combat troops from the country.

He said: “It’s really important that the Government decision, which was that all major units will rebase in the summer of 2019 and on to 2020, will take place.

"If you think you’re staying, you’re not. You will be going if you’re in a major unit.”

-ends-
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[*] posted on 4-7-2018 at 07:54 PM


Opinion: Carter’s capability challenges

4th July 2018 - 09:10 GMT | by The Clarence in London

General Sir Nick Carter has now formally taken on the role of Chief of the Defence Staff for the British Armed Forces. Carter comes to the post from the role of Chief of the General Staff (CGS), a position he had held since 2014, and where he led the army through the last Strategic Defence Review.

He now finds himself leading the British Armed Forces at a point in time when they are in a curious situation, having both opportunities and challenges ahead of them that will shape the nature of his time in the role and whether he is deemed a success or failure by his peers, his personnel and politicians.

From the outset Carter’s legacy as CDS will almost certainly be the way he handles the final signing off, and implementation of, the Modernising Defence Programme (MDP), which is a defence review in all but name. Born out of the National Security Capability Review (NSCR), the MDP is intended to try and push defence into a long term financially stable position that delivers relevant military capability.

Rumours continue to float around Whitehall as to what the review will deliver, with no real clarity emerging as to whether it is a cost driven review intended to cut the cloth of the armed forces to meet tightened financial budgets against the backdrop of a perceived parsimonious chancellor unwilling to find extra resources, or if it is a review intended to expand the armed forces to meet the new threats from a resurgent Russia and support the narrative of a global Britain, eagerly pushed by the Defence Secretary, Gavin Williamson.

It is still not clear what the outcome will be, with politicians reportedly playing high stakes games over the level funding that could be made available to the MoD.

If the MDP ends up being as a means of balancing the budget, then Carter will be required to oversee significant capability cuts to bring the armed forces back towards fiscal solvency.

Such a move would almost certainly result in both headcount and equipment reductions, causing a precipitous decline in morale to the military which could lead to even larger manpower retention issues. More widely such cuts would sit poorly with allied governments, particularly at a time when other nations are increasing defence spending.

There are reports that the Prime Minister, Theresa May has asked the MoD to set out why the UK should retain a ‘Tier One’ armed forces, capable of global intervention and not focus on a more narrowly defined set of tasks. Carter's task as CDS will be to lead this work, ensuring that a credible argument can be made for investment in the military, and for keeping the status quo.

Alternatively, he will need to identify what work can be stopped, and where the UK can coherently alter its defence policy goals and permit reductions in spending in some areas, to permit enhancements in other areas – particularly cyber defence.

The risk is that the likely proposed packages of measures to reduce spending and step away from intervention operations will probably result in proposals to scrap assault ships (as widely leaked to the media over the last six months) and other ‘sacred cows’ like the Parachute Regiment.

This would create political uproar, as seen by the extremely strong response by politicians to the news that HMS Albion and Bulwark were at risk under the original NSCR. The secretary of state would find himself under significant pressure from a variety of groups to retain these high-profile capabilities.

This will place the MoD in a challenging place –if insufficient funding is made available, and there is no political support for the painful cuts required to keep the Armed Forces focused on delivering against defined threats (for instance enhancing Anti-Submarine Warfare, deterring Russia and maintaining a credible NATO), then the MoD may be forced to create what could best be described as ‘incoherent’ force structures.

This would see headline assets like amphibious assault ships retained, potentially while major cuts are made to support services, logistics and readiness. The outcome would be the worst of both worlds – an armed force unable to restructure to face the challenges they credibly face by deleting assets no longer required, but also forced to run on assets and platforms that are not properly supported or fully deployable due to the heavy cuts made to keep the ‘shop window’ assets going.

Amidst this structural uncertainty, Carter also faces the challenge of trying to arrest the decline in personnel numbers and modernise the armed forces ‘offer’ to its people to recruit and retain properly.

His tenure as CGS saw a renewed emphasis on looking beyond the traditional model of relying heavily on regular personnel, with attention being paid to both volunteer reservists and the so-called ‘Regular Reserve’ (the pool of people who have left the armed forces but have a residual liability for recall).

It is likely that he will want to deliver meaningful change that changes how the military recruit and look after their personnel.

It is likely that the ‘Future Accommodation Model’ (FAM) will be delivered during his tenure, a controversial programme to modernise accommodation options for a workforce that is required to be geographically mobile and move with their families on a regular basis.

Any outcome that sees people feeling they have been ‘seen off’ and have less money or worse accommodation will realistically cause a further problem with retention, particularly among more experienced SNCOs and Officers, who will put family support ahead of cap badge loyalty.

Ensuring that measures like FAM do not cause a retention challenge, while setting the conditions to recruit sufficient new recruits, many of whom will need niche skills and experience that are in demand by other employers too (particularly engineering) and persuading them to join against a backdrop of a shrinking military will be a particular challenge.


Quote:

Carter now finds himself leading the British Armed Forces at a point in time when they are in a curious situation, having both opportunities and challenges ahead of them that will shape the nature of his time in the role and whether he is deemed a success or failure by his peers, his personnel and politicians.

- The Clarence


Carter will need to ensure all the levers of the MoD work effectively together to recruit and retain people to avoid losing talent unnecessarily.

Carter takes on the role at a time when the UK armed forces face significant operational demands and are ‘running hot’ in many areas. While the long term major deployment to Afghanistan has ended, in 2018 UK personnel are still deployed on every continent on the planet, and Royal Navy ships are sailing on every ocean.

There is significant pressure, particularly on aging platforms, to deploy and operate in highly challenging conditions, and to keep doing so on a long term basis. The fragility and tautness in the forces is increasingly being exposed – for example the recent challenges with the Type 45 engines leading to gaps in the UK’s naval presence in the Middle East.

Carter will have to offer advice to the Prime Minister on the military options and capabilities open to her, knowing that he must balance different drivers and interests. He will need to keep in mind the importance of the UK meeting its international commitments, particularly to NATO and in the Gulf, to reassure allies of the long-term commitment by the UK to these regions.

He will have to be mindful of the mantra of ‘Global Britain’, in identifying the role that the armed forces can play to support the wishes of the government to continue to play a global role (and thus secure trade and economic investment opportunities), while knowing that this may take units away from operationally essential requirements to ‘fly the flag’ elsewhere.

He will need to consider the views of allies, some of whom like the USA appear to be adopting an increasingly transactional approach to their defence relationships and will expect sustained commitment in return for support, while other smaller nations will look to the UK as a leading NATO nation to support them in a range of military scenarios, and also fund defence properly (as his predecessor, now in NATO will no doubt be doing).

This will be at the forefront of the advice he has to offer when considering what structures and units to abolish or retain if funding is cut under MDP.

Finally, he must offer advice on the military options open to the government knowing that additional deployments and commitments on stretched and tired personnel reinforces the retention crisis and makes it harder downstream to deploy similar capabilities without placing huge pressure on already taut manpower structures.

The challenges he faces are considerable, not least because under his watch he is likely to have to oversee Brexit, a major defence review and if he stays until 2022 a general election too – all of which have the potential to significantly impact on the structure and mission of the armed forces.

One thing is certain, he and his staff will definitely be responsible for delivering major changes to defence whilst living through ‘interesting times’.
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[*] posted on 5-7-2018 at 10:06 PM


Risks rise in UK defence procurement programmes

Tim Ripley, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

05 July 2018

Key Points

- The UK’s project management watchdog has ‘red-flagged’ five defence procurement projects
- The number of projects with successful delivery ‘in doubt’ has risen from seven to 13 since 2017

Five major UK defence procurement projects are now considered “unachievable” and their viability needs to be reassessed, according to the 2018 report of the UK’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority.

This represents a five-fold increase since last year’s report, which gave only one project – to build nuclear-powered submarine reactor cores – a “red flag”.

The GBP1.5 billion (USD2 billion) reactor core has been joined by the GBP9.9 billion Astute class nuclear submarine, GBP1.8 billion Marshall military air traffic control system, GBP907 million Protector unmanned aerial vehicle, and the GBP1.6 billion Armoured Infantry 2025 project to upgrade Warrior vehicles.

(152 of 432 words)
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[*] posted on 7-7-2018 at 02:05 PM


Government highlights perilous state of UK defence aviation programmes

Gareth Jennings, London - IHS Jane's Defence Weekly

06 July 2018


An artist's impression of the Protector, a new Remotely Piloted Air System (RPAS) ordered for the Royal Air Force. A government report has said that the successful delivery of this project is 'unachievable'. Source: General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc

The UK government has declared that nearly every major defence aviation procurement programme currently ongoing is either in danger of not being successfully delivered, or can only be delivered once significant issues have been overcome.

In its Annual Report on Major Projects 2017-18, the government’s Infrastructure and Projects Authority (IPA) found that all of the seven programmes reviewed required varying levels of management attention if they were to be successfully delivered, while the successful delivery of one project was said to be “unachievable”.

Published on 4 July, the report noted that the AgustaWestland AW159 Lynx Wildcat battlefield and maritime helicopter was rated Amber/Green (successful delivery appears probable; however, constant attention will be needed to ensure risks do not materialise into major issues threatening delivery).

The Airbus A400M Atlas transport aircraft, CROWSNEST carrier airborne early warning helicopters and Thales Watchkeeper unmanned aircraft system (UAS) were rated Amber (successful delivery appears feasible but significant issues already exist, requiring management attention. These appear resolvable at this stage and, if addressed promptly, should not present a cost/schedule overrun).

The Lockheed Martin F-35B Lightning II Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) and Boeing P-8A Poseidon maritime patrol aircraft (MPA) were rated Amber/Red (successful delivery of the project is in doubt, with major risks or issues apparent in a number of key areas. Urgent action is needed to address these problems and/or assess whether resolution is feasible).

However, while these six projects could still be delivered with enhanced oversight and management, the IPA determined that the General Atomics Aeronautical Systems Inc (GA-ASI) Protector UAS cannot be delivered on schedule or on budget, rating it as Red (successful delivery of the project appears to be unachievable. There are major issues with project definition, schedule, budget, quality and/or benefits delivery, which at this stage do not appear to be manageable or resolvable.

(326 of 526 words)
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[*] posted on 7-7-2018 at 03:02 PM


How have they fucked up the P8 purchase already? It has only just been approved!



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[*] posted on 7-7-2018 at 03:16 PM


I've absolutely no idea what could be wrong with P-8 unless it's European Certification or some such non-entity rubbish?
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[*] posted on 8-7-2018 at 12:18 AM


UK misses Nato deadline for completing defence review

Theresa May had been expected to present proposals at next week’s summit attended by Donald Trump

Ewen MacAskill Defence correspondent

Sat 7 Jul 2018 15.00 AEST

The defence modernisation programme has fallen foul of a stand-off between Theresa May, the Treasury and the defence ministry.

The government has failed to complete a review of British defence forces in time for next week’s Nato summit, according to Whitehall sources.

Theresa May had been expected to present detailed proposals for the modernisation of the army, navy and airforce at the Brussels summit.

But, caught up in a row between the Ministry of Defence, the Treasury and Downing Street over spending, ministers failed to meet the deadline.

The prime minister had wanted to set out Britain’s plans for modernising its defence forces in front other members of Nato, in particular Donald Trump. Nato representatives are bracing themselves for a stormy summit, predicting the US president will berate other members of the transatlantic alliance for not spending enough on defence and claiming the US is having to subsidise them.

The US defence secretary, James Mattis, in a letter to his UK counterpart, Gavin Williamson, hinted that the UK’s close relationship with the US on defence matters could be undermined unless it did more. If not, it could end up being supplanted by France.

A Whitehall source said the modernising defence review, on which work began a year ago, had fallen foul of a stand-off between May, the chancellor, Philip Hammond, and Williamson.

Talks over the past fortnight have failed to resolve differences over Williamson’s push for billions more in defence spending.

No 10 has lined up alongside the Treasury on the issue. A defence source was adamant that May had challenged Williamson on whether the UK had to be “tier one” country, with a full range of capabilities. Williamson was reported in the Mail on Sunday as threatening to break May.

Another Whitehall source said that, with no agreement reached on increasing the MoD budget, the issue would be postponed until after the summit, which takes place on Wednesday and Thursday.

“There is no clear idea of when it will be published,” the source said, adding that a fresh deadline would be set for publication of the review before parliament rises for the summer recess on 24 July, although it is unlikely to be resolved by then. The row seems set to rumble on, with hard decisions having to be delayed until the autumn budget or next year’s spending review.

A Whitehall official blamed the failure to resolve the issue in time on what he called “Brexit paralysis”, with the government unwilling to face up to difficult defence decisions.

The failure to publish a final document as promised will dismay Conservative backbenchers who have been pressing for increased spending and clear decisions.

With no agreement on more money, the MoD and Treasury considered publishing an interim document that would set out the threats posed by Russia as well as from cyberwarfare, but would be free of any hard decision. But ministers shelved this when they realised it would be seen as a messy compromise that would neither satisfy Tory backbenchers with a strong interest in defence, nor impress Trump or other Nato partners.

Although the UK meets the Nato target of spending 2% of GDP on defence, other countries such as France and Germany, which were below the 2%, have promised to significantly increase spending through to 2025.

The MoD budget for 2016-17 was £35.3bn, set to rise to £39.6bn in 2020-21. Williamson is seeking £20bn over the next decade, citing increased Russian activity in the air and at sea as well as alleged cyber-attacks, and with the Salisbury nerve agent attack blamed on the Kremlin.

The Treasury, having committed to spend £20bn more on the NHS, says it has no extra money for defence.

The review was announced just before parliament broke in July last year for the summer recess. Initially, the review covered all the intelligence agencies as well as defence. It was supposed to be a quick review – a rational, detached look at the main threats faced by the UK and what is needed to confront them.
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[*] posted on 8-7-2018 at 10:24 PM


Quote: Originally posted by bug2  
I've absolutely no idea what could be wrong with P-8 unless it's European Certification or some such non-entity rubbish?


Sounds like politics, unless they are specifying completely different sensors / battle management system / weaponry, the P8 is about as turnkey as it gets.




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[*] posted on 9-7-2018 at 11:45 AM


Nah, the whole point of picking P-8 was the fact it's ready-to-go / as-procured.
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