Tag Archives: FCAS

The NATO chief wanders Germany’s heated debate over armed drones | Instant News

COLOGNE, Germany – NATO Secretary General Jens Stoltenberg says he supports the use of armed drones to protect soldiers’ lives, wading through a heated debate in Germany about purchasing such technology for future operations.

Stoltenberg told the German press office of the DPA that the alliance would use unmanned aircraft armed in accordance with international law and to support deployed forces. “These drones can support troops on the ground and reduce the number of pilots we send in a dangerous way,” he was quoted as saying.

His comments came because the question of arming drones had caused a huge commotion between the CDU and SPD parties, which form Germany’s coalition government. In particular, the disagreement is over whether the Bundeswehr should be allowed to lease Israeli-made Heron TP drones armed with missiles. More broadly, however, the debate is about different visions of Germany as a participant in Western military structures.

Earlier this month, the SPD leadership decided to reject the acquisition of armed drones in principle, arguing that the broad debate here about the ethical aspects of their use had not yet occurred, as stipulated in the government coalition agreement.

The party’s surprise move comes after defense department officials formally studied the matter for much of the year as part of a public campaign, holding hearings with experts from a variety of backgrounds and sending final reports to lawmakers.

The SPD parliamentary spokesman for defense issues, Fritz Felgentreu, who supports the use of armed drones in limited conditions, resigned from his job in protest, arguing the party leadership’s claims about a lackluster drone debate were dishonest.

Following Stoltenberg’s statement to the DPA on Wednesday, Felgentreu joked on Twitter that the secretary general would make a “smart Social Democrat”, a reference to his own party.

Stoltenberg’s stance is unlikely to sway any opinion here, as those who reject armed drones for the Bundeswehr are unlikely to support NATO supporters from starting.

It remains to be seen how the seven-year German drone debate further develops before it reaches the relevant decision-making stage for Franco-German. Eurodrone. One of the roles of the drone apart from spying and surveillance is firing weapons in combat under certain conditions. Likewise with Future Combat Air Systems, a Franco-German-Spanish project, is slated to include a series of so-called “long-distance operators”, some of which will have a kinetic effect.

The US administration’s counterterrorism drone wars since the Bush administration, often fought somewhere in the gray zone between military and paramilitary operations, still overshadow the collective conscience of Germany’s anti-war left.

Supporters of drones for the Bundeswehr accuse SPD skeptics of distrusting the government, and their own parliament, in using those weapons more responsibly.

Airbus Defense and Space CEO Dirk Hoke, whose company manages the Heron TP lease and co-leads the Eurodrone and FCAS programs, told reporters earlier this month that he is relying on a “shift” in German public opinion to support the idea of ​​an armed drone in the end. “Our population realizes that we are seeing higher volatility, more crises, and that Europe’s largest economy cannot escape the accountability and responsibility that comes with that role,” he said.


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Britain’s next generation combat program opens new suppliers | Instant News

LONDON – A raft of top system suppliers has been recruited to join the UK’s leading team in the development of the Tempest generation fighter.

Bombardier in Northern Ireland, GKN, Martin Baker, and Qinetiq, together with the British arm of Aerospace Collins, GE Aviation and Thales, have signed up to collaborate with a team led by BAE Systems working on air combat systems in the future, announced July 20 what was supposed to be the opening day of the Farnborough air show before Covid-19 led to the cancellation of the event.

At the same time as the announcement, Saab Sweden revealed that they were building a British hub to potentially participate in the work of future air combat systems between the two countries.

It’s been almost two years when wraps were taken from the Tempest fighter plastic mock-up at the Farnborough event.

Britain revealed the partnership led by BAE, also involved Leonardo, MBDA, Rolls-Royce, who would begin to investigate the technology needed for future air combat systems.

About $ 2.5 billion so far has committed to this program.

Now, just a few months before the outline business case to develop further programs will be sent to the British government, the Tempest Team, as the industry team is known, has signed its first seven system suppliers.

With the first phase of the new partnership being signed, the company will look for opportunities to join established projects and developments with the Tempest Team’s core partners.

More than 60 technology demonstration activities are currently underway on a future combat air system in the UK that employs 1800 people – the number is expected to increase to 2,500 by the end of this year.

In a statement, Defense Minister Ben Wallace said he was “pleased that seven companies had joined this mission to work with the Ministry of Defense, under the banner of the Tempest Team. They will bring ambition, discovery and expertise that will produce breakthroughs that we will rely on for decades to come. “

The increased level of employment and increased industrial support comes at an important time for a program that will determine the future position of the UK in the defense industry, given the importance of the air sector to jobs, skills and exports here.

An integrated defense, security and foreign policy review is underway led by Prime Minister Boris Johnson and his advisers, who are said to be skeptical of the ability of local industries to deliver large programs on time and on budget and prefer to buy defense equipment off the shelf.

With Covid-19 emptying the government’s coffers, launching a multibillion-dollar program like Tempest is likely to be a problem unless the UK can register several major international partners to share costs.

Last year Italy and Sweden both signed up to investigate a partnership with Britain on a future combat air system, and studies are underway with the two countries not yet committed to the program.

Sweden may not have committed to partnering with Britain and others, but its biggest defense company, Saab, announced on July 20 that it would invest $ 63 million in start-up to build a new future air combat center with other initiatives in the UK.

Saab leads the participation of the Swedish combat air system industry in the future in collaboration with the ministry of defense.

Details of where and when companies will invest in the UK are rare, but Micael Johansson, Saab’s president and CEO, said the move demonstrates the company’s commitment to combat air and British development.

“Saab took the decision to create a new center of the air combat system in the future so that we can further develop close working relationships with other FCAS industry partners and the UK Ministry of Defense. This emphasizes the importance of FCAS and the UK for Saab’s future, “Johansson said.

The British have set their nets outside Europe in search of partners, with India and Japan also holding discussions about potential ties to the future combat air system.

Across the English, French and German channels jointly developed a new fighter jet with the same time frame.

Attempts to merge the two European programs so far have failed, but that does not mean that the post-Covid-19 financial realities may not lead to a potential bond for review.

Howard Wheeldon, from the Wheeldon Strategic Advisory consultant, said that the British government knew what was at stake in the development of future air combat systems.

“Team Tempest is a very significant program for the UK. … Partnerships between government, military, industry and international partners are all determined to succeed, “he said.

“The industry, together with the RAF Rapid Capabilities Office, has reached large numbers in a very short time. “I, for example, have no doubt that the government fully understands the importance of the meaning of ‘Team Tempest’ for the UK, not only for employment and maintaining the necessary skills, but also in the potential that development has prosperity in the future,” Wheeldon said.


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The German government plans to buy 138 fighter jets and prepare for nuclear war | Instant News

The German government plans to buy 138 fighter jets and prepare for nuclear war

Gregor Link and Johannes Stern

May 7, 2020

The German government is preparing to buy 93 Eurofighters and 45 US-made F-18 fighter jets at a total cost of nearly € 20 billion. Eurofighter is manufactured by Airbus, while Boeing makes the F-18.

Among the latter types are 30 “Super Hornet” jets, the aim of which is to guarantee German involvement in atomic warfare and to allow the spread of US nuclear weapons located in German territory in the event of a nuclear war. Tornado strike bombers have been used for this purpose, but they must be removed from service by 2030 and replaced.

Der Spiegel reported last month that German Defense Minister Annegret Kramp-Karrenbauer (Christian Democrat, CDU) offered the deal to US Defense Secretary Mark Esper via email. Extra-parliamentary steps seem to have taken place with the agreement of CDU’s coalition partner, Social Democrats. In a statement, the Ministry of Defense noted that the SPD had been involved in the process for weeks. Der Spiegel also reported that a secret agreement was made with Foreign Minister Heiko Maas and Finance Minister Olaf Scholz (both SPD).

F / A-18F Super Hornet during a supersonic test flight in 2010. (Image Credit: Photo of the US Navy by Liz Goettee)

On Monday, government officials reiterated Germany’s commitment to “nuclear participation” as part of NATO. This is “an important component of a prevention strategy that can be trusted in an alliance,” stressed government spokesman Stefan Seibert in Berlin.

Foreign Minister Maas distanced himself from other SPD members, including SPD co-leader Norbert Walter-Borjans, who had criticized German purchases of US-made aircraft and a nuclear alliance close to Washington for several days earlier. “Unilateral steps that undermine the confidence of our close partners and European neighbors weaken our alliance,” Maas said.

On Sunday, SPD parliamentary group leader Rolf Mützenich told the German daily Tagesspiegel“Nuclear weapons on German soil do not improve our security, on the contrary.” It is time for Germany to rule out placement in the future. Other countries have done this without making NATO questionable. “He then added,” As Germans, we must confidently demand to influence NATO’s nuclear strategy, even when there are no nuclear weapons stored on our territory. “

Critics of the government from the SPD sections, which are supported by the Left, have nothing to do with pacifism. The aim is to develop a foreign and nuclear policy that is more independent from the United States and dominated by Germany and the EU. In the past, the SPD demanded that the Tornado be replaced exclusively with Eurofighters which were reused to “promote domestic production and prevent over-dependence on the United States,” as reported by the N-TV news channel.

Regardless of which fighter jet model the German government ultimately chooses, what happens is the largest German air force weaponry since the end of the Second World War, and, in the final analysis, German nuclear weaponry. According to the Ministry of Defense, the government’s desire to buy F-18 fighter jets is only seen as “a temporary solution for nuclear participation and electronic-supported electronic combat.” Development of “[Future Combat Air System (FCAS)] do not be endangered. “

FCAS is a European system consisting of multi-function manned fighter jets, several unmanned aircraft (long distance carriers), and new weapons and communication systems. The plan is for an integrated combat system that combines drones, fighter jets, satellites, and command and control aircraft, potentially related to independent nuclear capabilities.

In a foreign policy speech in February, French President Emmanuel Macron appealed for a “strategic dialogue” on European nuclear prevention. In the face of the nuclear arms race, Macron stated that Europeans could not limit themselves “to the role of the audience.”

FCAS is part of the Franco-German leadership’s effort to turn the European Union into a military force capable of waging war independently, and if necessary, in contrast to the United States. Under conditions of mounting conflict between the main powers, project development was aggressively encouraged. After Germany, France and Spain officially launched FCAS last June, “there will now be a shift to technology development and demonstrations over the next 18 months with German investment of € 78 million,” noted a report from the Ministry of Defense on February 13.

In a press statement from April 22, Kramp-Karrenbauer also noted that fighter jets were “a transition … to goal-oriented FCAS technology in the future.” The problem with the replacement of the Tornado fleet is to “equip future air force armed forces so that all Tornado capabilities, air combat capability, reconnaissance, electronic warfare, and also the ability for nuclear participation, can be included in the future.” In this process, it is important that we maintain industrial policy capability here in Germany and Europe. We need a solution that ensures that Europe’s main air system in the future, namely FCAS, is not at risk in the period after 2040. “

The amount of money set aside for this project is very large. With the cost for each F-18 standing at $ 93 million (€ 85 million) and each Eurofighter for $ 170 million (€ 156 million), the total cost for 138 jets amounts to $ 20 billion or € 18.5 billion, despite the costs for new weapons the program generally produces many multiples of the original number.

The cost of European air systems is much higher. In total, costs will rise above € 100 billion. Handelsblatt reported last year that by the middle of this century, the system would swallow “up to € 500 billion.”

In the midst of the rampaging COVID-19 pandemic, funding for this project is a social and political crime. As the International Campaign for the Elimination of Nuclear Weapons and the International Doctor for the Prevention of Nuclear War noted, the cost for an F-18 jet alone (€ 7.47 billion) would be enough to build 100,000 intensive care beds, buy 30,000 ventilators, and pay 60,000 nurses and 25,000 doctor for one full year.

The purchase price for weapons of mass destruction is enough to finance the work of the World Health Organization for four and a half years.

The German government’s plan explains that 75 years after the end of the Second World War, German imperialism and militarism have once again revived its criminal traditions. The ruling elites in Germany responded to the buildup of nuclear weapons by the United States and rising tensions between the major powers by preparing their own plans for destruction.

Think tanks, commentators, newspapers and influential politicians have been demanding weapons of Germany’s own mass destruction for some time.

Recently, the president of the German Society for Foreign Policy (DGAP) and former head of Europe’s second big arms company EADS, Tom Enders, said, in an article entitled, “We must talk about nuclear weapons” to collaborate with France or the creation of a nuclear deterrent Germany itself. “Responsible German security and foreign policy” must consider “the nuclear choice of the Federal Republic of Germany wisely and with regard to reapolitics.” This discussion must “not exclude options from the start as taboo,” including “which seems inconceivable: does Germany need its own nuclear weapons?” “Building a European defense union ready for combat is difficult to imagine without nuclear support.”

The only way to prevent this arms race and the annihilation of humankind in the third world war fought with nuclear weapons is to mobilize the working class against rearmament, war and its source – the capitalist profit system. Workers and young people must fight for expropriation without compensation from weapons companies, banks and oligarchs who are very rich so that this vast resource can be used to fight a pandemic and meet the social needs of the majority. These demands cannot be separated from the formation of workers’ power and the socialist transformation of society.

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