View Full Version : EU countries working towards possible EU-Wide Military
15th December 2010, 09:19
Don't know if you guys noticed it in the msm lately. I didn't.
But as I regularly check military specific newssources a military political pattern appears.
Whether it's deliberate or really out of enourmous defense budget costs either way it's something we need to keep an eye on.
The merging of EU country military tasks and operational duties. The implementation of the possibility of foreign troops authorized to be deployed in other EU nations.
The joint use of R&D, jointly producing military hardware, the joint use of future military hardware, the joint use of military satellites and many more of these.
Check out the following sources:
15th December 2010, 09:35
German Troops in France for First Time Since WWII
STRASBOURG, France - A battalion of German combat troops was officially stationed in eastern France on Dec. 10 for the first time since Nazi forces ended their occupation after World War II.
The battalion, part of the joint Franco-German Brigade, is stationed at Illkirch-Graffenstaden outside Strasbourg, near the German border, and will by 2012 consist of 600 battle-ready soldiers.
The historic move, aimed at cementing friendship between the neighbors who fought three devastating wars in 75 years, was agreed by French President Nicolas Sarkozy and German Chancellor Angela Merkel at a Munich summit in 2009.
French Defence Minister Alain Juppe and his German counterpart Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg attended a ceremony to mark the event, with Juppe hailing "a new impetus to move forward the construction of Europe."
Guttenberg stressed that "the cooperation between our two countries benefits all of Europe" as the 291st Infantry Battalion received its colors under a driving rain.
Merkel and Sarkozy, who held talks in the southwestern German city of Freiburg on Dec. 10, also hailed the troops' arrival.
"German soldiers are today welcome in France," Merkel told a joint news conference. "For me, that has great symbolism, after all the misdeeds Germany was guilty of during the Nazi era."
Added Sarkozy: "It is an honor for us to receive German soldiers in a peaceful context on the French Republic's territory.
"I was always surprised that the Franco-German Brigade only consisted of French soldiers stationed in Germany.
"We are two sovereign nations, two countries at peace, two countries that founded Europe," he said, in apparent reference to the European Union's 1952 forerunner, the European Coal and Steel Community.
The community was set up in the wake of World War II with the explicit aim of making another conflict between France and Germany materially impossible by creating industrial interdependence.
German soldiers have been arriving at the base since April and took part in Armistice Day commemorations alongside their French counterparts for the first time.
Two French regiments within the Franco-German Brigade, which became operational in 1989 and consists of about 5,400 troops, are stationed in southwestern Germany, at Donaueschingen and Immendingen.
The German battalion is to be stationed in Alsace, a region that changed hands several times between France and Germany over the centuries.
France, Germany, Poland call for deeper EU military ties
PARIS - France, Germany and Poland urged the European Union to come up with concrete steps to deepen military cooperation by the end of next year, according to a letter made public on Monday.
European Union foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton reviews documents Dec. 13 before a Foreign Affairs Council meeting at EU headquarters in Brussels, Belgium. (AFP) The letter, signed by the foreign and defense ministers of all three countries, was addressed to EU foreign policy chief Catherine Ashton, who also heads the European Defence Agency.
"To keep momentum we need to give a fresh impetus to European Security and Defence Policy, in full complementarity with NATO," said the missive, dated December 6. "Your personal involvement in this endeavour is key."
The ministers added: "We see a specific need to improve our capacities to plan and to conduct operations and missions, to strengthen cooperation among our militaries and to create synergies in times of scarce resources, taking due care for complementarity with national and NATO planning capabilities."
The letter said the aim was to achieve "concrete results" under Poland's presidency of the EU in the second half of 2011.
Polish Prime Minister Donald Tusk said last month that reinforcing common EU defense plans would be a priority of his country's six months at the helm of the bloc.
The letter was released four days after EU defense ministers agreed at a meeting in Brussels to step up military cooperation in order to cope with austerity putting pressure on budgets across Europe.
In their letter, the ministers also called for "improved" relations between the 27-nation bloc and the NATO military alliance which is needed for "a more effective European engagement in global affairs."
Although 21 of the EU's 27 members are part of the 28-nation NATO, cooperation between the two organizations has been made difficult by age-old divisions between NATO member Turkey and EU state Cyprus.
France Orders Spy Satellites From EADS Astrium
PARIS - France has ordered two optical satellites in a 795 million euro ($1.05 billion) contract with EADS Astrium, as part of the European Musis space surveillance system, the Ministry of Defense said in a Dec. 2 statement.
"These two satellites will constitute the space optical component of the future program for space imagery for defense and security, Musis [Multinational Space-based System], due to be realized with Germany, Belgium, Spain, Greece and Italy," the statement said.
Astrium is the prime contractor for the new satellites, with Thales Alenia Space building the optical instruments. The first satellite is due to be placed in orbit in December 2016.
Compared with the Helios 2 military spy satellites they are replacing, the new satellites' sensors are designed to identify smaller targets, deliver to decision-makers a greater number of pictures from crisis zones, and do it more quickly, the statement said.
Under the contract, there is an option for a third satellite. An order for the third satellite will depend on a cooperation agreement with other European countries that will allow for shared financing of the optical component, the statement said.
Musis is intended as the next-generation successor to the French Helios 2 and dual civil-military Pléiades optical satellites, and the radar-based German Sar-Lupe and Italian Cosmo-SkyMed systems.
The Direction Générale de l'Armement procurement office has assigned the CNES French space agency to act as program manager for the Musis optical satellites.
The national contributions to the Musis program comprise, besides the two French optical satellites: a Spanish dual civil-military optical satellite dubbed Ingenio; a German very high resolution radar named Sarah; and Italy's second generation Cosmo-SkyMed, a dual civil-military sensor with high and very high resolution radar.
15th December 2010, 09:41
R&D Funding Boost Urged For European Defense Agency
BRUSSELS - The European Security and Defence Assembly voted Dec. 1 to urge increased research and development funding by the European Defence Agency (EDA) despite a decline in national defense budgets.
A week earlier, a report unveiled in Brussels by four think tanks called for bilateral initiatives, such as the recent Franco-British agreement, to be opened up to wider participation via the EDA.
Presenting a report for the Technological and Aerospace Committee, Jose Mendes Bota of Portugal said that the proposal could help promote interoperability and "perhaps even lead eventually to greater homogeneity among the equipment and capabilities of the national armed forces, which provide the basis for the EU's 'hard' power."
The EDA aims to "provide the beginnings of an answer to the lack of a European defense research policy," he said. But the report's call for more R&D cash for the EDA was rejected by two U.K. MPs, including Jeffrey Donaldson.
"Member states [might] not be convinced that the agency could deliver what they cannot deliver nationally," he said. Cooperation is complicated because firms in the defense and security industry are often multinational, he said.
Lord Donald Anderson argued that two-thirds of EU spending on security and defense comes from France and the U.K., and that the sums involved in the EDA were "minimal." Opponents to an increase in allocations were "looking for a headline," he said.
The EDA spent 28 million euros ($36.6 million) in 2009, of which 7.6 million euros went on operational projects and studies.
On Nov. 26, the EDA hosted the presentation of a report, "Restructuring Europe's Armed Forces in Times of Austerity: A Dialog on Challenges and Opportunities for Government and Industry," which focused on the impact of budget cuts in Germany, France, the U.K. and Poland.
The report points to the problem of "multilateralism fatigue," and in a reference to the recent Franco-British defense agreement, it argues that "the U.K. and France have clearly opted in favor of a bilateral approach out of frustration with the intricacies of multilateral cooperation inside the EU."
Opening up bilateral initiatives to wider participation is one of three key recommendations in the report.
In one of several examples, it says that under the Franco-British agreement, a project team will be set up to define the specifications for an anti-mine system prototype. The EDA has a similar project of which the U.K. is not a part.
France is a lead nation in the project to replace the current capabilities of 11 EDA countries from 2018. The report identifies Germany as having a strong track record in minesweeping, adding that it could "potentially contribute to a stronger start-up core."
The report also argues for a European-level strategic defense and security review to look at how cuts in military expenditures will affect their capabilities within the EU and NATO, and for industry and government to devise exit or diversification strategies (e.g. into civil security or dual-use goods) for firms that are not competitive or not part of competitive sectors.
"This may represent the best means to prevent uncoordinated dismantlement of the industry and job losses across the EU," the report suggests.
The report was co-written by four think tanks: the Stiftung Wissenschaft und Politik (Germany), the Institut de Relations Internationales et Stratégiques (France), the Royal United Services Institute (U.K.) and the Polski Instytut Spraw Międzynarodowych (Poland), with the support of the Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe.
The full eight-page report is online at http://www.swp-berlin.org/en/common/get_document.php?asset_id=7582.
NATO MEPs Wary of Cooperation With Russia
BRUSSELS - European parliamentarians expressed reservations about NATO's cooperation with Russia at a Security and Defence Committee hearing here Nov. 30.
Such cooperation is "politically ok," said Bulgarian member of Parliament (MEP) Evgeni Kirilov, but added that he was "not quite sure" whether it was "technically feasible. If it fails, it can produce a backlash."
At the hearing, Robert Bell, the representative of the U.S. secretary of defense in Europe, told MEPs that NATO-Russia talks on linking up their respective missile defense systems will start later this week.
On Nov. 20, NATO heads of state and government made the following declaration at the alliance's Lisbon summit: "We reaffirm the Alliance's readiness to invite Russia to explore jointly the potential for linking current and planned missile defense systems at an appropriate time in mutually beneficial ways."
NATO is due to unveil a plan for the bloc's missile shield system in time for a NATO defense ministers' meeting in June 2011.
Bell told the parliamentarians that extending the alliance's theater missile defense system to cover European territories would cost 200 million euros ($261.1 million) over 10 years, a figure frequently mentioned by NATO's secretary general. "Twenty one percent of the costs would be borne by the U.S.," he added.
With regard to the anti-missile shield, Dmitry Rogozin, Russia's permanent representative to NATO, observed that "many in Russia think that Iran is just a pretext" and that the best solution would be to have "properly organized cooperation to be designed so that it can encounter the real threats which exist."
The time has come to build "communication links" to have "side-by-side coordinated cooperation on a missile defense system," Bell said.
Rogozin added, "If there is enough good will, everything is possible." He stressed the need "to reduce the threat we have inherited from the Cold War. Right now our partnership is particularly positive."
"Particular doubts which existed in the past no longer exist," he said.
A high-level NATO-Russia meeting will discuss the issue of missile defense on Dec. 8.
15th December 2010, 09:44
6 European Countries Agree to a Common Airspace
BRUSSELS - A treaty signed here Dec. 2 by six nations will set up a common airspace in the heart of Europe, where aircraft - including, possibly, for military exercises - need not worry about flying across national borders.
Belgium, France, Germany, Luxembourg, the Netherlands and Switzerland signed the so-called FABEC (Functional Airspace Block Europe Central) Treaty, which will organize a borderless air traffic management system.
The agreement will need to be ratified in each country, a process expected to be completed by 2012.
The treaty covers an airspace of some 1.7 million square kilometers, where many major European airports, civil airways and military training areas are located.
There are about 5.5 million flights per year in this airspace, according to the organization behind the treaty, FABEC. An existing FABEC strategic board, made up of national civil aviation and military aviation authorities, will become a FABEC Council, which will oversee the treaty.
The treaty's Article 17.1 states that the "Contracting States concerned shall conclude, where and when appropriate, written arrangements to enable military training activities in the airspace concerned regardless of existing boundaries."
"We need larger airspace blocks [beyond 100 miles in length] for training and exercise than in the past," said Lt. Gen. Aarne Kreuzinger-Janik, the chief of Germany's Air Force.
"This is not about acrobatics," he said. "We try to fly in real-life scenarios, so border crossing is important. We can work out [arrangements with] military and civilian partners to come to a solution via the treaty."
In addition, the signatory countries have agreed to come up with performance targets for safety, the environment, capacity, cost efficiency and military mission effectiveness.
Lt. Col. Dirk De Smedt of the Belgian Air Force said seven key performance indicators would be developed to cover the concept of military mission effectiveness.
Three will cover the following questions:
■ Airspace design - how big an airspace is needed for military missions?
■ Military requests for airspace - what percentage of military requests for airspace are allocated?
■ How much time is spent on military training compared with mission time? The aim here is for the military to spend more time on training, compared with time spent transiting to the area for training.
But what would the six countries do in the event of a rogue aircraft entering the airspace?
Maj. Gen. Claude Van de Voorde, commander of the Belgian Air Force, said each country is working on cross-border cooperation with other air forces.
"The hard decisions are national, and I think they will remain national for a while," Van de Voorde said.
By way of example, De Smedt cited Belgium's agreement with France under which fighter planes can enter each other's airspace.
"The problem comes when there is the decision as to whether to shoot that aircraft down," De Smedt said, describing this as "a complex question."
Work is underway on a number of cost-saving projects, including for military and civilian air-traffic management personnel to be located in the same place and to share the same systems. Military and civilian authorities tend to have separate radar and surveillance systems.
There will be discussions on how far this could be rationalized by getting rid of some systems where there is unnecessary duplication. There also are efforts to look into whether the six countries could share training and recruitment processes for air traffic controllers, and whether they could jointly buy equipment, such as software.
15th December 2010, 09:52
Cash-Strapped E.U. Defense Chiefs Eye Deeper Cooperation
BRUSSELS - European Union defense chiefs will tackle Dec. 9 ways to maintain their military might despite shrinking budgets by stepping up cooperation and avoid losing power and influence in the world.
Faced with dwindling resources at a time of austerity across Europe, the 27-nation bloc's defense ministers want to identify military assets that they could pool and share, such as transport planes and training facilities.
France and Britain set an example last month by sweeping aside their historic rivalry and striking a landmark deal to share the use of aircraft carriers and nuclear testing facilities.
"I do think this is a very interesting moment for European defense, especially following the Anglo-French treaty," Nick Witney, former chief executive of the European Defence Agency, told AFP.
"The big question mark now is, does that bilateral cooperation between the two big players suck the oxygen out of wider European defense," said Witney, now a senior fellow at the European Council on Foreign Relations think tank.
"That question is one for the other Europeans. But it is also a question for France: Is it possible for France to go in two directions at same time?" Germany and Sweden issued a joint document last month, entitled "Food for Thought," which states that "intensifying military cooperation in Europe" had become a "European imperative."
The two countries called on their partners to review their military capabilities in order to identify areas of potential cooperation.
European governments should decide which capabilities will remain strictly sovereign, the German-Swedish paper says, noting that combat forces, fighter planes, warships, and intelligence could fit in that category.
Areas that could be pooled together include training forces, strategic airlifts and logistics capabilities, the document says.
Finally, governments should identify tasks that they could share such as aerial and maritime surveillance as well as training and exercises, it says.
Witney said the German-Swedish paper was a "welcome sign of life, but how determined are they to push through with that?" He added: "It is only frankly inertia that prevents these from being rationalized across national banners."
EU defense ministers decided in September to give new impetus to the idea of linking up capabilities and asked the bloc's foreign and security policy chief, Catherine Ashton, to come up with areas of possible cooperation.
She will issue her report on Thursday, which will also be discussed at a summit of EU leaders on December 16-17.
A European diplomat said the European Defence Agency has identified 70 areas where governments could work together, including air transport, medical support and the protection of troops against improvised explosive devices.
Europe's effort to increase cooperation comes at a time when power and influence in the world "is passing rapidly to the southeast," Witney said.
France has warned that Europe risked losing its standing in the world and falling under Chinese-American domination due to drastic cuts in military budgets across the continent.
"At the pace we're going, Europe is progressively becoming a protectorate, and in 50 years we will become a game in a balancing act between new powers in which we will be under a Sino-American dominion," Herve Morin, the former French defense minister, said at the ministerial meeting in September.
EU Defense Ministers to Discuss Civil-Military Action Plan
BRUSSELS - European Union defense ministers will be looking to agree on an EU civil-military action plan at their meeting here on Dec. 9. The idea is for the EU to come up with a common vision on where to focus their efforts. The action plan is slated for final approval on Dec. 13 during an EU foreign affairs meeting.
The idea is to look at dual-use capabilities and see what can be done so that areas of activity on the military side can benefit the civilian side, for example on police missions, said an EU source involved in the preparation of the meeting.
If approved, the document will cover 13 areas: strategic and tactical transport; logistic support; communications and information systems; medical support; security and force protection; use of space capabilities; unarmed vehicles; warehousing and centralized support systems; sharing information and intelligence; training; exercises; interconnecting military and civilian capability development processes; and lessons learned from EU missions and capability development processes.
The idea is for specific programs to be put in place between July 2011 and June 2012. One possibility is for EU member states to pool spending on a particular program.
However, there are indications that the EU is moving more toward a series of bilateral models of cooperation rather than an EU-wide model of cooperation. Ahead of the meeting, Defense News asked the Italian Undersecretary for Defense, Guido Crosetto, about where the recent U.K.-France agreement on defense initiatives such as on Medium Altitude Long Endurance (MALE) Unmanned Aerial Vehicles (UAVs) left Italy.
"We started industrial and political talks with the U.K. for the UAV program a year ago. That was to a certain extent interrupted by the Anglo-French deals. We are concerned about the deal, which could see Italy excluded. If this happens we will seek another partner, European or non-European. We need a partner in this work," Crosetto said.
NATO's Secretary-General Anders Fogh Rasmussen will also attend the meeting to discuss EU-NATO military capabilities development. An EU source explained that there was cooperation with NATO to avoid unnecessary duplication on areas such as countering improvised explosives devices and medical support. The European Defence Agency is expected to deploy a laboratory for counter IED forensics analysis in Afghanistan soon.
EU defense ministers are also expected to agree on a budget for the European Defence Agency for 2011.
Other points of discussion:
* There are some gaps in terms of providing a full complement for the EU's standby forces, the so-called 'battlegroups', including for the first half of 2012.
* The EU is looking for a more permanent solution to the difficulty of finding courts to try pirates captured off Somalia and is currently negotiating with two countries in the region to see if they will hold trials of pirates.
* The EU training mission in Somalia has now trained about 1,000 personnel to work for the Transitional Federal Government of Somalia on keeping law and order in the country and will soon be starting to train another 1,000 personnel.
EDA Countries To Sign Unmanned Maritime Systems Agreement
BRUSSELS - Ten European Defence Agency (EDA) countries are prepared to sign an overarching document setting out the program arrangements for 14 projects on unmanned maritime systems (UMSs). The signing is set for an EDA steering board meeting of EU defense ministers Dec. 9.
UMSs operate both on the water and beneath the surface.
Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden are all due to sign the document, which has a 53 million euro ($70.6 million) envelope and will run for four years. The 14 projects include one on maritime countermeasures. Norway, which has an association agreement with the EDA, is also due to sign.
The 2011 budget for the EDA and the appointment of a new chief executive of the EDA to replace the outgoing Alexander Weis are also on the agenda of the steering board meeting. In 2010, the EDA had a budget of 30.5 million euros, 8.4 million euros of which is for its operational budget. According to a report in the British newspaper The Daily Telegraph, Britain is pushing for the EDA's budget to be frozen "at best".
As for the new chief executive, France's Claude-France Arnould is understood to have been recommended by the EU's High Representative Catherine Ashton for the post. However, Italy's Defense Undersecretary Guido Crosetto said on Dec. 6 that Italy had asked for a "reconsideration" of this candidate to run the EDA. Italy had proposed Gen. Carlo Magrassi, the deputy chief executive (strategy) at the EDA.
"Italy presented a candidate, a suitable candidate, while Ashton has decided on another candidate, but at this point Italy would consider itself out of the EDA," said Crosetto.
"A French choice when France has taken a large number of posts within NATO recently means a lack of equilibrium and a lack of consideration for the funding principles of the European Union. Italy and some other countries, including Germany, are asking for time to be taken to consider this appointment," he said. "The choice must be agreed without marginalizing countries."
EU defense ministers will also discuss what sort of military capabilities can be pooled. A German-Swedish paper, which will also be reviewed, suggests that strategic and tactical airlift and logistics capabilities could be pooled.
The EDA also has suggested creation of a multinational helicopter wing. This could be made up of nationally owned helicopters or could involve procuring helicopters jointly.
Other issues expected to produce agreement without discussion include a 2011 EDA work program, which is due to make pooling and sharing a fulltime job for the agency, and the launch of a "bookbuilding" exercise for an EDA Joint Investment Programme to counter chemical, biological, radiological and nuclear weapons and incidents. The exercise will allow member states to say what they want to contribute to these activities.
On Dec. 10, the winning contractor to deliver a 1 million euro mobile deployable counter IED forensics laboratory will be announced. The money comes from the EDA budget.
15th December 2010, 09:58
EU Freezes EDA Budget at $40.3M
BRUSSELS - EU defense ministers agreed here Dec. 9 to freeze the European Defence Agency's budget at 30.5 million euros ($40.3 million) and have postponed agreement on a new EDA chief executive until Dec. 21.
The information came from France's Defense Minister Alain Juppe and was confirmed by a European Defence Agency official.
Juppe said that everyone had agreed on a renewal of the budget, which he called understandable given "the situation our respective countries are in, with their budgets not going up."
Britain's minister for international security strategy, Gerald Howarth, called the decision correct and realistic.
"The European Defence Agency can add value to the development of defense capability, but it must prioritize and find ways to deliver this in an affordable manner," Howarth said. "When we are having to cut capabilities and reduce service personnel at home, it is important that we can take similarly tough decisions at the European level. Today we have achieved that and we now need to work with the agency to maximize the value that it adds."
Juppe said there was no particular obstacle to appointing a new EDA chief, simply a desire to "continue with consultations a bit."
He said the EU's High Representative for Foreign Affairs, Catherine Ashton, had allowed extra time to allow member states to speak and had set Dec. 21 as the new deadline for picking a candidate.
Another EU official suggested that the problem was a "procedural one," confirmed the deadline, and suggested that Ashton would recommend France's Claude-France Arnould.
Three days ago, before the meeting, Italy's Defense Undersecretary Guido Crosetto said Italy had asked for a reconsideration of their proposed candidate, Gen. Carlo Magrassi, currently the agency's the deputy chief executive for strategy.
At their meeting, the ministers also discussed was the problem of prosecuting pirates caught by EU or NATO ships off Somalia. Juppe said EU nations needed to cooperate with Somalia and nearby countries to ensure that the captured pirates did not enjoy impunity.
After discussions of military capability development, EU defense ministers stressed "the need to develop pooling and sharing options, building on successful multilateral examples such as the European Air Transport Command launched in September 2010, and to explore role specialization." Also discussed were suggestions the EDA set up a Wise Pen Team to help find areas for pooling and sharing. Ministers also noted the need for further cooperation between the EDA and the European Commission, especially in research and technology, to look at the potential for developing civil-military synergies in capability development and the added value of dual use capabilities.
15th December 2010, 10:08
11 European Nations Pool for Maritime R&D
BRUSSELS - Ten European Defence Agency countries plus Norway will fund a 53 million euro ($70 million) effort to develop various unmanned marine systems (UMSs).
Much of the effort will be focused on countering naval mines - spotting them adrift, finding them in seafloors, sweeping them in minefields - but other areas of investigation include protecting harbors, fighting submarines and communicating underwater.
Another branch is unmanned maritime vehicles: developing safety and operating standards, hooking them into networks, and allowing them to work more autonomously.
A new systems integration group will coordinate the program and examine potential topics such as finding better ways to launch and recover UMSs, creating better ways to power them, and fighting off torpedoes.
Belgium, Finland, France, Germany, Italy, the Netherlands, Norway, Poland, Portugal, Spain and Sweden have signed up for the program, which is one of 12 European Defence Agency (EDS) Capability Development Plan priority actions agreed on by its 26 members in 2008.
The program will allow a wide range of entities to participate, including navies, national laboratories, universities and industrial firms.
It will also increase opportunities for contributing members to cooperate and exchange information and know-how. A network of more than 100 experts has already been established and is envisioned as the main EDA forum for discussing future UMS work.
In a news release, the EDA said that European defense ministers have agreed that the agency's activities on pooling and sharing of national military capabilities should be stepped up.
"In addition to successful existing projects - such as improving helicopters' availability, air transport, third-party logistics support and airworthiness - more pooling and sharing opportunities exist in areas like satellite communications, medical support and naval logistics. In many cases, pooling and sharing also offers opportunities for civil-military dual-use," the EDA said.
U.K. Move Could See French Aircraft on British Carriers
PARIS - London's decision to fit catapults on its planned second aircraft carrier opened up the prospect of French Rafale strike fighters flying off a British flattop, with reciprocal rights for British aircraft off the French carrier, French Defense Minister Hervé Morin said Oct. 26 at the Euronaval trade show.
French Rafale strike fighters, such as the one shown above, could fly off a British flattop, with reciprocal rights for British aircraft off the French carrier, the French defense minister said Oct. 26. (File photo / Agence France-Presse) Morin asked the French military staff to assess whether the installation of catapults would allow French aircraft, such as the Rafale, to operate off the Royal Navy vessel, and the answer was: "Yes, it's technically feasible," he told journalists.
That opened up potential opportunities of interoperability and mutual interdependence between the British and French fleets, he said. With such cross-deck operations came the possibility of a "permanent presence at sea," he said.
"We have a complementarity to play with," he said.
Morin, however, said a French decision on whether to build a second carrier, dubbed porte-avions 2 or PA2, would be made at the end of 2012 or early 2013.
Up to now, President Nicolas Sarkozy has said such a decision would be made in 2011 or 2012.
But money is tight, and a presidential election is due to be held in 2012, which was probably why Morin reset the timetable, a defense official said.
Morin is positioning himself as centrist party candidate for the presidential ballot.
Privately, senior French Navy officers are delighted at the prospect of Britain operating a conventional carrier, rather than the through-deck vessel designed for vertical-takeoff aircraft such as the Sea Harrier.
One officer said it takes something like 25 years to learn how to operate a true carrier.
"I'll be happy to speed it up by 10 to 15 years" the officer said. The French Navy, which operates the Charles de Gaulle carrier, could help with cross training of crews.
The French Navy has been without the use the Charles de Gaulle for three years following a scheduled overhaul of its nuclear reactor and working up period. In that time, French Fleet Air Arm pilots flew in the United States to keep up their flying hours.
Expectations are high that announcements of military cooperation will be made at the Anglo-French summit on Nov. 2, when Sarkozy and British Prime Minister David Cameron meet in Portsmouth in Britain.
French Naval Leader Sees Carriers, Nuclear Weapons in the Future
Paris - Aircraft carriers and a nuclear deterrent will still be needed by the Navy in 2040, the French Navy's top admiral said Oct. 27, even as the world makes its way through a variety of new man-made and natural threats.
"We still have to protect ourselves," Adm. Pierre-François Forissier, chief of staff of the French Navy, told an audience at the Euronaval exposition just outside Paris. "In 2040, the Navy will still need to use deterrence and have a nuclear component.
"That nuclear component could be shared with other European partners," he added.
Asked whether carriers will remain a part of the future French Navy, Forissier noted that navies will need to control not only the area on and above the sea, but also below it.
"What is certain is that the global*sized navies will have these dimensions and control these volumes," he said. "They will have to be able to put in the sky resources and equipment with great power and that can stay in the air a long time. There is absolutely no doubt about that."
Forissier said only a carrier could put aircraft in the air in numbers and provide a base to launch and recover them.
"So the catapult aircraft carrier will remain the equipment serving sovereignty," he declared.
Asked to comment on recent British developments affecting the new Queen Elizabeth-class aircraft carriers - now to be equipped with catapults, and part of high-level British-French discussions about sharing naval assets and responsibilities - Forissier noted the similarities between the French and British navies.
"The model of Navy they have just chosen is quite comparable to the model we chose in 2008 to have in France," he said. "In submarines, the aircraft carrier, amphibious ships, we can see that on both sides of the Channel we have the same attitude."
"For the last 25 years we in France were the only ones on this side of the Atlantic to have this [full-sized aircraft carrier] ability. And we felt terribly lonely," Forissier noted. "We feel very good that another partner is to join us."
15th December 2010, 10:14
NATO Allies Agree On Europewide Missile Shield
LISBON, Portugal - President Obama and his NATO allies agreed Nov. 19 to set up a new anti-missile defense shield across Europe and to invite Russia to take part.
"I'm pleased to announce that for the first time, we have agreed to develop a missile defense capability that's strong enough to cover all NATO European territory and populations, as well as the United States," Obama said after a first session of the two-day NATO summit in Lisbon.
Russia had been fiercely critical of a U.S. missile defense plans, seeing it as a direct threat to its nuclear deterrent.
But the 28 NATO powers hope Russian President Dmitry Medvedev can be won over in discussions with the alliance on Nov. 20, the first encounter at this level since Moscow waged a war in Georgia in 2008.
NATO chief Anders Fogh Rasmussen has said he expects Russia and the allies to begin a joint study of Russia's possible inclusion in the missile defense system, which would be a significant softening of Moscow's position.
In a "strategic concept" released Nov. 19 setting out NATO priorities for the next decade, the leaders agreed to "develop the capability to defend our populations and territories against ballistic missile attack as a core element of our collective defense."
"We will actively seek cooperation on missile defense with Russia and other Euro-Atlantic partners," they said.
The broad agreement marks a significant advance for Obama's scheme, first announced in November 2009 when he ditched plans for a missile shield in Eastern Europe, the cause of a Cold War-style row with Russia.
Obama decided to replace the shield, the brainchild of former President George W. Bush, with a more mobile system targeting Iranian short-range and medium-range missiles, initially using sea-based interceptors.
Before leaving Moscow, the Russian party said it was keen to share ideas about common missile defense but played down the chances of a major decision realigning the continent's security.
Rasmussen said Russia would likely be invited to link up with the NATO missile umbrella rather than merging its defenses with those of the alliance, set up in 1949 to contain the Soviet Union.
"I think, realistically speaking, we can't start by merging our systems into one common missile defense system," Rasmussen said earlier in the day.
"Realistically speaking, I think we should think of two separate systems that cooperate. We could exchange information and data and thereby make the whole system more efficient and give better coverage."
In addition to wooing the Russians, NATO allies have tiptoed around Turkey's concerns about its sensitive relations with neighbor Iran.
Diplomats had been discussing publicly identifying Iran as an emerging missile threat but Turkey had refused to countenance this possibility, and Tehran did not figure in the document released.
Cyber Defense To Be On NATO Critical Capabilities List
BRUSSELS - Cyber defense is set to be on a top 10 list of capabilities to be agreed at the upcoming NATO summit in Lisbon, a NATO official said Nov. 16.
The list, which will be made public, sets out areas that NATO countries will prioritize for investment. The list is also expected to include helicopter transport, strategic air transport, wide body aircraft for long-range transport, counter-IED technologies and training, and medical support.
NATO already has a cyber defense capability in the form of its Computer Response Incidence Centre (CIRC), manned on a 24 hours/seven days a week basis, which helped Estonia when it suffered a series of Internet attacks a few years ago.
The official said that NATO was "increasingly worried by the growing number and sophistication of cyber attacks on military and civilian infrastructure," adding that NATO deals with "about five major cyber incidents per day."
NATO's Consultation, Command and Control (NC3A) Agency is looking to have about 35 million euros of funding agreed by NATO member countries, although no decision on all the areas of funding is expected at the Lisbon summit. If agreed, the funding will be used to expand NATO's CIRC so that it has better technologies and more human resources expertise to react to cyber attacks.
Referring to a NATO exercise based on a fictitious scenario and looking at how countries respond to a cyber attack on deployed NATO forces in a conflict zone, the official said that "cyber attacks are a clear part of any military conflict now." The official added that exercises such as this are "key in testing systems."
The European Union was present during the exercise.
In a sign of the increasing importance being attached to the dangers of cyber attacks, the European Union has also recently carried out an exercise looking at the protection of its critical infrastructure. A NATO representative was present in the planning stages of that exercise. So far there has been no formal discussion about exactly how NATO and the EU should divide up responsibilities.
There has also been much speculation about whether Article 5 of NATO's Washington Treaty, the "attack on one is an attack on all" clause, might be modified to include cyber attacks. However, the NATO official said that "Article 5 applies depends on the nature of the attack" and "it's a waste of time to speculate on the threshold. Before 9/11, people were not writing about and speculating on a terrorist attack [triggering Article 5], he added.
The official pointed that NATO could, for example, play a role in helping individual allies understand more about their vulnerabilities.
15th December 2010, 20:55
Thanks a lot, for this huge contribution , Elandiel BernElve, wow!I wonder......what's hanging in the air.....? :) Do English speaking people use this Dutch expression too?
Powered by vBulletin™ Version 4.1.1 Copyright © 2013 vBulletin Solutions, Inc. All rights reserved.