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June 29, 2020 | International, Aerospace

Can Tempest and FCAS projects both succeed in Europe?

By Flight International 26 June 2020

For some, a time of global economic crisis might not feel like the perfect moment for nations to invest huge sums of money to develop a new class of combat aircraft only due to enter use around 2035-2040.

Currently, six European governments and their national defence industry champions are involved in the early phases of two competing – and comparable – projects to deliver such a capability.

In the opinion of Airbus Defence & Space chief executive Dirk Hoke, Europe's current trio of advanced fighters – the Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen – represent a wasteful replication of industrial effort – and all lose out by battling for the same orders.

Hoke is championing a future combat air system (FCAS) project now combining the resources and know-how of French and German industry, and also later incorporating Spain.

With its Tempest development having drawn interest from Italy and Sweden, the UK is not only turning away from its co-operation with Germany and Spain on Eurofighter, but applying the afterburners on their separation.

Key players behind both efforts are united in their calls to “avoid the mistakes of the past”. For some, that refers to compromised yet complex requirements, sprawling manufacturing and final assembly arrangements, and political interference during export activities, while for others, a simple lack of harmony was at fault.

Getting everyone to agree that having multiple final assembly lines for a fighter with a comparatively small production volume is an inefficient luxury is one thing – agreeing which will lose the strategic capability is quite another.

International partnering spreads a programme's investment burden, but elements of the Eurofighter set-up and the Airbus Defence & Space A400M airlifter serve as cautionary tales. Three can be a crowd, but a lack of agreement among four or seven involved nations can cause lengthy delay and spiralling costs.

Surely Europe can comfortably support two next-generation combat aircraft programmes? Indeed, those involved in FCAS and Tempest eye them as offering a real opportunity to power part of their nations' economic recovery in the post-coronavirus era.

For an alternative view should the projects eventually have to merge, a unified solution could serve all 27 EU member states, plus the UK. Such a prospect could make the US-led Lockheed Martin F-35 programme look like a bureaucratic cakewalk by comparison.

https://www.flightglobal.com/defence/can-tempest-and-fcas-projects-both-succeed-in-europe/139007.article

On the same subject

  • Mettre en place un Conseil de sécurité européen ? Une idée à travailler

    February 18, 2019 | International, Security

    Mettre en place un Conseil de sécurité européen ? Une idée à travailler

    (B2) Berlin insiste régulièrement sur un point souvent oublié dans la rhétorique sur l'armée européenne : la mise en place d'un « Conseil de sécurité de l'UE ». Un point qui mérite un peu d'attention Avec mes amis de ‘La faute à l'Europe‘ (J. Quatremer, Y. A. Noguès, K. Landaburu, H. Beaudoin), qui reçoivent ce week-end Michèle Alliot Marie, alias MAM, l'ancienne ministre de la Défense (sous Jacques Chirac) et ministre des Affaires étrangères (sous Nicolas Sarkozy), nous parlons ‘défense', ‘Europe puissance' et notamment de ce Conseil de sécurité européen (video). @bruxelles2 pèse le pour et le contre d'un Conseil de sécurité européen à l'image de @ONU_fr pic.twitter.com/JfbkGh4Kot Une proposition franco-allemande Cette proposition ne nait pas de nulle part. Elle figurait en dernier lieu dans la déclaration de Meseberg adoptée par les deux dirigeants Emmanuel Macron et Angela Merkel en juin 2018. L'objectif est d'avoir un « débat européen dans de nouveaux formats » et « d'accroitre la rapidité et l'efficacité de la prise de décision de l'Union européenne [en matière] de politique étrangère » (lire : Défense, Sécurité, Migrations, Développement, l'accord franco-allemand de Meseberg). Une explication merkelienne Au Parlement européen, en novembre 2018, la chancelière Angela Merkel souligne l'importance d'« une enceinte au sein de laquelle des décisions importantes pourront êtres prises », avec une « présidence tournante » (lire : « Une armée (européenne) montrerait au monde qu'entre (nous) il n'y aurait plus de guerre » (Angela Merkel). Le format serait limité précise-t-on du côté allemand : « un petit cercle d'États se relayant et représentant l'ensemble de l'UE [pour] travailler plus promptement et intensément au règlement des crises en cours. » (1) Une certaine réserve française Du côté français, on ne peut pas dire que le projet suscite une grande mobilisation. A l'Élysée, la prudence est de règle : « C'est une idée [de] la Chancelière. Ce pourrait être une proposition commune, mais cela mérite encore [d'être travaillé] » l'che en ‘off' un Élyséen, à quelques journalistes (dont B2) en novembre 2018. Et d'ajouter : « Nous n'avons pas de détails proposés par le gouvernement allemand : est-ce un forum pour discuter ou pour décider des questions de politique étrangère ? Ce n'est pas encore une position qui est mûrie. » (3) Une idée mal perçue dans les milieux européens Dans les couloirs européens, cette idée est à peine commentée. « Je suis un peu sceptique sur la création d'une nouvelle structure. Est-elle vraiment nécessaire. N'a-t-on pas déjà pas assez de structures » s'interroge un bon connaisseur des questions sécuritaires interrogé par B2, résumant assez bien le sentiment à Bruxelles, perplexe et qui a, à peine, réfléchi sur l'idée. Un vide béant de réflexion stratégique Cette proposition répond pourtant à un réel besoin. L'Union européenne souffre aujourd'hui d'un vide béant d'absence de direction politique au plus haut niveau, d'anticipation stratégique et de réactivité en cas de crise majeure. Parler d'autonomie stratégique ou de réflexion sans avoir une instance capable de décider est un leurre. Des leaders européens absents collectivement Certes, en théorie, le Conseil européen doit se pencher une fois par an au minimum sur les grandes questions de sécurité. Mais cette disposition du Traité de Lisbonne est restée plutôt lettre morte. Force est de constater que ces dernières années, sur toutes les crises majeures — Libye, Syrie, Irak, Ukraine, crise migratoire, coup d'état en Turquie, etc. — les Chefs d'État et de gouvernement européens, collectivement, ont été ‘à la ramasse'. Un manque d'anticipation certain Pour en attester, il suffit de reprendre la liste des crises récentes. Les 28 ont-ils à la veille de signer l'accord d'association avec l'Ukraine clairement évalué les conséquences de cet acte sur les relations avec la Russie, donné leur accord en bonne et due forme ? Ont-ils planifié un dispositif de gestion de crise soit diplomatique, soit militaire en cas d'intervention russe (largement prévisible) ? Lors de la déroute du printemps arabe en Syrie, ont-ils anticipé la crise des réfugiés et des migrants à venir ? Après l'intervention franco-britannique en Libye, qui laisse un pays déchiré et un État failli, ont-ils envisagé et débattu de la solution à apporter à la crise, en commençant par résoudre leurs différends ? Lors du coup d'Etat en Turquie, y-t-a-il eu une réunion de crise par rapport à un pays le plus proche ? Non, non ! Des questions posées trop vite abordées Au mieux, les ‘Leaders' ont discuté une ou deux heures pour s'accorder sur les traitements collatéraux de la crise (rupture des liens diplomatiques, aide humanitaire, sanctions...). La plus longue discussion au cours de ces dernières années a été consacrée à définir l'intensité des sanctions mises en place sur la Russie. Mais rarement pour tenter de résoudre leurs différends, trouver des solutions ou b'tir des feuilles de route. Au pire, ils ont préféré ne pas trop se pencher sur la question. Une réforme facile à mettre en place Si l'on met de côté certains aspects proposés par A. Merkel, avoir un Conseil de sécurité de l'Union européenne est possible dans le cadre existant. Pas de modification de traité Ce projet ne nécessite pas de modification des traités constitutifs. Il suffit juste de changer les usages. On peut décider (par exemple) de consacrer une demi-journée lors de chaque Conseil européen aux grandes questions internationales ou (autre exemple) dédier une de ses quatre réunions annuelles aux questions internationales. Il serait même possible de tenir une ou deux fois par an un Conseil européen informel dans un pays tournant (permettant à un chef de gouvernement de coprésider la réunion). Juste changer les usages Rien n'empêche d'ailleurs quelques pays plus proches en matière d'approche sécuritaire — France, Allemagne, Belgique, Espagne, Italie — de tenir régulièrement des conciliabules préparatoires à l'image des réunions G6 des ministres de l'Intérieur (un petit cercle conjoint). Rien n'empêche aussi de joindre à ces réunions des Chefs, une réunion parallèle des ministres de la Défense ou des Affaires étrangères, voire des ambassadeurs, pour mettre en musique immédiatement les mesures décidées par les Chefs. Toutes ces dispositions, tout à fait possibles dans les traités existants, permettraient de se rapprocher du modèle prôné par A. Merkel. Un dispositif diplomatique et technique prêt à répondre Au-dessous du niveau politique, le dispositif européen en cas de crise est plutôt complet et prêt à travailler. On a ainsi des ambassadeurs des 28 (le Comité politique et de sécurité), qui siègent en permanence à Bruxelles, avec au minimum deux réunions par semaine (sans compter les petits déjeuners, goûters et autres dîners informels) permettant d'échanger et affiner des positions communes. En cas d'urgence, une réunion du COPS peut être improvisée. Ces diplomates, discrets mais parfaits connaisseurs de leurs sujets, sont tenus d'être là, 24h/24 sur le pont. J'en ai été témoin à plusieurs reprises. Des réunions ont eu lieu le dimanche, au mois d'août, à 6 heures du matin ou à 22 heures le soir. Un dispositif de veille et d'analyse On a aussi un dispositif de veille du renseignement (l'IntCen) (dirigé aujourd'hui par un Allemand ancien des services de renseignement) qui produit régulièrement des notes d'analyses. Ces notes — environ 1400 par an — sont plutôt bien appréciées de leurs destinataires, selon mes informations. On peut ajouter à cela des dispositifs de réaction de crise — cellule de protection civile à la Commission européenne, état-major militaire de l'UE (EUMS), commandement des missions civiles (CPCC) etc. — qui existent et ne demandent qu'à produire des résultats. Tous ces dispositifs peuvent au besoin être renforcés et rendus plus performants. (Nicolas Gros-Verheyde) https://www.bruxelles2.eu/2019/02/16/mettre-en-place-un-conseil-de-securite-europeen-une-idee-du-futur/

  • US Army’s interim short-range air defense solution crystallizes

    July 3, 2018 | International, Land

    US Army’s interim short-range air defense solution crystallizes

    By: Jen Judson WASHINGTON — The U.S. Army's interim short-range air defense system, which will urgently fill a capability gap identified a few years ago in the European theater, has crystallized. The Army had already decided the Interim Maneuver-Short-Range Air Defense system would be developed around its Stryker combat vehicle, but it has now chosen Leonardo DRS to supply a mission equipment package that will include Raytheon's Stinger vehicle missile launcher, according to Col. Chuck Worshim, program manager for cruise missile defense systems with the Army's Program Executive Office Missiles and Space, who spoke to Defense News on June 28. General Dynamics Land Systems — which produces the Stryker — will be the platform integrator for the IM-SHORAD system, he added. The Army went through a selection process through the Department of Defense Ordnance Technology Consortium to determine the best collection of vendors to build prototypes. A Boeing-GDLS team was a front-runner for an interim SHORAD mission package, unveiling before any other vendor a solution in August 2017 at the Space and Missile Defense Symposium in Huntsville, Alabama. Using an Avenger system on top of the Stryker, which was the team's solution, sought to take what was already in the Army's inventory to create a system. And a SHORAD demonstration at White Sands Missile Range, New Mexico, last September saw more possibilities for the interim solution including Rafael's Iron Dome and South Korean defense firm Hanwha's Flying Tiger. But a dark horse emerged at the Association of the U.S. Army's Global Force Symposium, also in Huntsville, in March. Leonardo DRS showed an unassuming small-scale mock-up of its concept at its booth at the symposium that featured its partner Moog's Reconfigurable Integrated-weapons Platform. The platform would provide a choice of sights, direct-fire weapons and missiles, Ed House, DRS Land Systems' business development manager, told Defense News at the show. The system would be able to integrate both Stinger and Longbow Hellfire missiles, requirements for the service's IM-SHORAD solution. It also would come equipped with a complement of direct-fire weapons and sights to include the M230 chain gun and the 7.62mm coaxial machine gun. But the solution also has non-kinetic defeat capabilities and Rada's onboard multimission hemispheric radar. And that dark horse has won the opportunity to provide the mission equipment package for the IM-SHORAD prototype program. The system will also have Hellfire rails as well as an onboard sensor, according to Worshim. The Army decided to choose DRS to provide the mission equipment package because of the flexibility of its reconfigurable turret, which allows for growth opportunities should the threat change or something else change that requires a new interceptor or another capability, Worshim said. The solution also posed less intrusion to the existing Stryker platform, he added, and provided an increased level of protection as the crew reloads ammunition, which can be done under armor. While the Avenger solution was deemed technically acceptable and met requirements, one of the reasons the Army decided against using the Avenger on Stryker as the solution was because the government felt it would require major modifications to the Stryker, according to Worshim. The Army has a desire to keep the Stryker as common across the fleet as possible, Worshim said. Boeing was also looking to the government to supply Avenger turrets, of which a limited amount of those exist readily in the service's inventory, which would have been problematic when considering the Army's goal to deliver 144 IM-SHORAD systems by fiscal 2022, he explained. Now that vendors have been selected, the Army will move into a negotiation period expected to wrap up in mid- to late July. The service expects to officially award the contract to build nine prototypes by Aug. 31, but has the intention to possibly move that date up, Worshim said. Once the contracts are solidified, DRS will provide the first mission equipment package, complete with a new digital Stinger missile launcher in February 2019. Then GDLS will fully integrate the SHORAD prototype by April 2019. The final prototypes will be delivered to the service by the first quarter of fiscal 2020. As the prototypes are coming along, the Army will conduct prototype testing to see if the systems are meeting requirements. “From there, the Army will decide if this solution truly meets requirements in this respect,” Worshim said. If the solution does meet requirements, production efforts to build 144 systems — a total of four battalions — will move forward. The Army's goal is to provide the first battery no later than the fourth quarter of 2020, but that will depend on funding. If funding is lower than expected, the Army will deliver the first platoon by about that time, according to Worshim. The service has moved from receiving a directed requirement in late February 2018 to selecting vendors for the IM-SHORAD solution in just about four months, which, Worshim noted, is moving at “lightning speed” for a typical acquisition process. The hope is the process to build an IM-SHORAD solution will be used as a model for Army procurement that incorporates the “fly before you buy” concept and creates a way to rapidly understand capabilities moving forward, he said. https://www.defensenews.com/land/2018/06/28/us-armys-interim-short-range-air-defense-solution-crystallizes/

  • Defence Watch: New dates set for budget watchdog's reports on major naval projects

    October 27, 2020 | International, Naval

    Defence Watch: New dates set for budget watchdog's reports on major naval projects

    David Pugliese, Two reports by the parliamentary budget officer looking into the costs of major Canadian naval equipment projects have been delayed. The Commons Standing Committee on Government Operations and Estimates had unanimously passed a motion in June to request the Office of the Parliamentary Budget Officer undertake a costing analysis of the Royal Canadian Navy's new joint support ships as well as the leasing of the Asterix supply ship from a private firm. The PBO study was to also look at the cost of building the joint support ships in Canada at Seaspan shipyard in Vancouver. The committee asked that the PBO report be provided by Oct. 15. Another motion from the committee, passed later in June, asked the PBO to examine the $60 billion price tag of Canada's proposed new fleet of warships – the Canadian Surface Combatant or CSC. Parliamentary Budget Officer Yves Giroux was tasked to investigate the cost of the CSC as well as examine the cost of two other types of warships: the FREMM and the Type 31. That study was supposed to be presented to the committee by Oct. 22. But those original motions from the committee expired when Parliament was prorogued. So new motions have to be provided to the PBO. The Commons committee passed a new motion on Oct. 19 on the Asterix and Joint Support Ship analysis. That analysis is to be delivered by Nov. 30, PBO spokeswoman Sloane Mask told this newspaper. A date for the analysis to be made public has not yet been determined. “Currently, we are also in the process of confirming the revised timelines for the CSC report,” she added.There is particular interest in the defence community about what the PBO determines is the current price-tag of the Canadian Surface Combatant project. Last year the Liberal government signed an initial deal on CSC that is expected to lead to the eventual construction of 15 warships in the largest single government purchase in Canadian history. Lockheed Martin offered Canada the Type 26 warship designed by BAE in the United Kingdom. Irving is the prime contractor and the vessels will be built at its east coast shipyard. Construction of the first ship isn't expected to begin until the early 2020s. But the Canadian Surface Combatant program has already faced rising costs. In 2008, the then-Conservative government estimated the project would cost roughly $26 billion. But in 2015, Vice-Admiral Mark Norman, then commander of the navy, voiced concern that taxpayers may not have been given all the information about the program, publicly predicting the cost for the warships alone would approach $30 billion. The overall project is currently estimated to cost around $60 billion. “Approximately one-half of the CSC build cost is comprised of labour in the (Irving) Halifax yard and materials,” according to federal government documents obtained by this newspaper through the Access to Information law. But some members of parliament and industry representatives have privately questioned whether the CSC price-tag is too high. There have been suggestions that Canada could dump the Type 26 design and go for a cheaper alternative since the CSC project is still in early stages and costs to withdraw could be covered by savings from a less expensive ship. Canada had already been pitched on alternatives. In December 2017, the French and Italian governments proposed a plan in which Canada could build the FREMM frigate at Irving. Those governments offered to guarantee the cost of the 15 ships at a fixed $30 billion, but that was rejected by the Canadian government. The other type of warship the PBO will look at is the Type 31, which is to be built for the Royal Navy in the United Kingdom. Those ships are to cost less than $500 million each. In 2017, then Parliamentary Budget Officer Jean-Denis Fréchette estimated the CSC program would cost $61.82 billion. The entry of the BAE Type 26 warship in the Canadian competition was controversial from the start and sparked complaints that the procurement process was skewed to favour that vessel. Previously the Liberal government had said only mature existing designs or designs of ships already in service with other navies would be accepted on the grounds they could be built faster and would be less risky. Unproven designs can face challenges if problems are found once the vessel is in the water and operating. But the criteria was changed and the government and Irving accepted the BAE design, though at the time it existed only on the drawing board. Construction began on the first Type 26 frigate in the summer of 2017 for Britain's Royal Navy. https://www.thetelegram.com/news/canada/defence-watch-new-dates-set-for-budget-watchdogs-reports-on-major-naval-projects-512897

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