“Currently only four dual EU-NATO members have military budgets that allocate the NATO minimum requisite of 2 percent of annual GDP for defense: France, the United Kingdom, Bulgaria and Romania… Greece – typically one of the bigger defense spenders in Europe – is reining in its budget, bringing it down to 1 percent of GDP or less through 2015. Forecast International projects that, by 2011, total defense spending across the European continent will amount to just under $300 billion…
“As it now stands, the European dual EU-NATO members have a rough total of $234.34 billion allocated toward defense among them for 2007, with the combined spending of France and the U.K. representing almost 55 percent of that total. And this is only the financial aspect – the manpower and equipment facets of each nation’s armed forces are also severely strained… defense spending across the entire European continent will reach only $266 billion in 2007, or about 58 percent of the U.S. baseline defense budget of $462 billion for the current fiscal year… many of these nations’ domestic defense industrial bases feel the crunch from lack of state orders needed to sustain themselves.
“What you have today is a Europe that seeks to project greater international involvement and security responsibility, whether through defensive measures in Afghanistan or humanitarian or peacekeeping operations in Lebanon, Kosovo and areas of Africa,” [Forecast International analyst Dan] Darling continues. “Yet these governments are asking more from their downsized militaries while providing less by way of defense appropriations… So long as Europe’s public at large lacks the perception of a distinct security threat, raising defense spending will not be an immediate concern in European capitals, thus forcing governments to confront hard choices.”…”
Militaries around the world are moving to modernize and transform themselves to meet the challenges of the 21st century. Our mission is to deliver a monthly cross-section of relevant, on-target stories, news, and analysis that will help experts and interested laypeople alike stay up to speed on key military developments and issues as we head into the USA’s Memorial Day weekend. Stories are broken down by military category and presented as fast bullet points that orient you quickly, with accompanying links if you wish to pursue more in-depth treatments.
This monthly briefing comes from a team a team that includes professional publications Defense Industry Daily and Aviation Week & Space Technology, with Winds of Change.NET acting as the briefing’s “neutral ground.”
Some of This Month’s Targets of Opportunity Include: Upgraded A-10s; Orbital Express; Hypersonics; Pod people; nEUROns; AARGMs, Spikes, & MOPs; Project Sandblaster; Compound helicopters; Stealth going mainstream; Routers in space; UAV swarms; Land Warrior RIP, Counter-sniper systems; Mine-protected vehicles go big; Trophy ready in Israel – or how about a net instead; Border robots with guns; Non-lethal weapons; UCAVs from carriers; the ASDS fiasco; Firing NEMO; Virginia’s new nose; Intercontinental cans of whup-ass; Paying for jets, not parts; EFP land mines – and the response; Inventory outsourcing in US military; Medical research; Bulgarian telemedicine; Privatized air tankers? Afghanistan doctrine; Canada’s tank lesson in Afghanistan; 6-Day Satellites; Transformation & Air Power; Lebanon post-mortems; Medals for UAV crews? And much, much more…!
April 25/07: According to the European Defence Agency, Britain’s “Specialist and Utility Vehicles (SUV)” Integrated Project Team is seeking tenders for about 180 “Medium Protected Patrol Vehicles” for “a wide range of patrol tasks” under solicitation EDA-1064. The MPPVs will be wheeled vehicles with a gross weight fully loaded of around 14 tonnes (about 36,000 pounds), offering “very high levels of protection against a number of known and emerging threats of a varied nature including Ballistic, Blast, Mine and Fragmentation” and “a degree of cross country mobility” despite being slated mostly for road and rough track use.
Delivery into service is expected in early 2009, at an estimated cost of GBP 20-100 million. Indications of interest must be in by May 11, 2007 at 12:00 GMT.
The new RG-33L
These specifications closely match the Cougar variant “Mastiff PPV” vehicles Britain has bought before to fill this role, though some have criticized the modified design’s lack of visibility. The approximate contract value for all 108 Mastiffs purchased to date is $70.1 million, currently around GBP 35.1 million. This contract may well see renewed competition, however, as options like BAE’s RG-33/RG-33L are also available on the market these days; furthermore, the solicitation is being specifically described as a “risk reduction measure to investigate the possible options available” under a funded “Cat D Capability Concept Demonstration (CCD) programme.” The DVD 2007 event on June 27-28 will provide manufacturers with an opportunity to show equipment or concepts for informal assessment; when/if funding is released, the program will transition to normal Category C procurement procedures.
The V-22 Osprey has attracted both praise and criticism during its long journey through development toward front-line deployment. Its characteristics have also had an impact on other weapons programs being developed for use with the aircraft. This article deals with two of those programs being developed to help strengthen the USMC’s badly eroded artillery capabilities.
One is the $74 million Internally Transported Vehicle (ITV) program; the United States Marine Corps says testing on American Growler, Inc’s vehicle is on track. The ITV – often incorrectly identified as the “Growler” – fits in the narrow belly of the V-22 Osprey tilt-rotor aircraft. The Marine Corps eventually expects to field about 600 to 700 of the two-ton, $120,000-a-copy tow trucks if they are accepted for fielding. ITVs will be delivered in two basic configurations: a Light Strike Variant (LSV), designed for Marine Corps infantry and reconnaissance battalions; and, the Expeditionary Fire Support System (EFSS) Prime Mover (PM), designed to tow the EFSS 120mm rifled mortar and the EFSS ammunition trailer. A decision to field them should be made by October 2007, a Marine Corps spokesman said.
The EU’s European Defence Agency has compared its data on European defence expenditure with United States defense spending in 2005. The data show that the US spent more than double the amount spent in Europe, and about 3 times as much on a per capita basis.
DID has covered the trend toward integrated high-tech infantry ensembles before, and also noted the European Defence Agency’s concerns re: lack of interoperability between the various national programs. As software-defined radios like the USA’s JTRS program and F@stnet gain traction, two things will happen:  They will be incorporated into “Infantry-21” programs; and  the interoperability imperative will begin to bite as advanced militaries find that they need to work together. Fortunately, a software-defined radio is essentially a computer with a radio interface; capability changes and enhancements can then be implemented with improved software, rather than requiring all-new hardware (good: costs, time; minuses: debugging, risk of poor interface design).
The EDA’s Steering Board recently welcomed a EUR 100 million (about $130 million) ad-hoc joint research project (ESSOR) by Finland, France, Italy, Spain and Sweden for joint work on Software Defined Radio (SDR). It is aimed at enhancing the interoperability of medium-term national SDR projects in Europe and with the U.S. and NATO. A related EDA study focuses on specific military SDR requirements for the longer-term, and the program is also seen as “promoting a European technological and industrial capacity of strategic importance.” The related WINTSEC project announced in October 2006 will study wireless interoperability for civil security purposes, where software-defined radios are also gaining traction.
The EU’s European Defence Agency recently released a “Long-Term Vision report” intended to serve as a compass for defence planners over the next twenty years. The report was the product of 11 months of study involving officials and experts from governments, defense bodies, academia and industry across Europe, and was debated by the EDA Steering Board which consists of the Defence Ministers of the Agency’s 24 participating Member States and the European Commission.EDA head Javier Solana:
“Given the lead times typically involved in developing defence capability, decisions we take, or fail to take, today will affect whether we have the right military capabilities, and the right capacities in Europe’s defence technological and industrial base, in the third decade of this century…”
The global trend toward “future soldier” infantry ensembles has swept many countries up in its wake, but issues remain. National Defense Magazine examines some of them in a recent article, and the Steering Board of the European Defence Agency has added a few more.
A Jan 2006 DID article covered the reasons behind the Bv206 family’s popularity around the world, via BAE Hagglunds vehicles and local variants. Their outstanding air transportability, amphibious all-terrain capability, and multiple variants covering a wide range of functions and make them well-suited to a role as infantry enhancement vehicles. While they are not substitutes for a full APC like Hagglunds’ own CV90 or the wheeled General Dynamics LAV III/Stryker, they do offer air-portable infantry mobility with small arms protection; additional carrying capacity over all terrains to reduce soldiers’ burdens; and firepower enhancement via its weapon mount options, heavy weapon storage inside, and towing capabilities (incl. mortars, howitzers et. al.). The result is a combination of APC and Jeep benefits in a more mobile, all-terrain platform capable of 3rd-dimension envelopment and rapid ground response.
Now BAE Systems Hagglunds AB has received a SKr 260 million ($35 million) rush order from the Swedish Defence Materiel Administration (FMV) for 52 additional Bv206S vehicles, with an option for more. The order amounts to 52 vehicles with an option to acquire additional vehicles, bringing the Swedish Armed Forces up to a total of 93 Bv206S. The goal driving the FMV is:
Here are some figures that make up a useful accompaniment to our recent article, “EDA to Launch New European Procurement Code on July 1, 2006.” According to data collected by the EU’s European Defence Agency, its 24 members (all EU states except Denmark) expect to spend a little under EUR 2.5 billion on defense R&D this year ($3.2 billion at current conversion), with only about one-tenth of the money going on collaborative projects in Europe. Total defense expenditure is estimated to be around EUR 180 billion ($230.16 billion at current conversion). “Collectively we are investing less than 1.5% of defense spending in the future of Europe’s defence technological base,” said EDA head Javier Solana. EDA release.