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Author: Subject: British Defence matters, 2017 onwards
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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.

(143 of 461 words)
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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.

(147 of 265 words)
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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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