The European Parliament is backing continuation of the EU’s weapons embargo to China, while other EU officials are stating that they intend to continue to press for its removal. Meanwhile, growing support of the ban from Britain, Denmark, the Netherlands and Sweden in light of China’s human rights record, its new law authorizing the use of force against Taiwan, risks to major industry investments across the Atlantic, and threats from the US Congress to cease defense cooperation with EU countries has prevented the required “consensus” on the issue within the EU.
The USA isn’t the only country with a Future Soldier/Land Warrior type program that aims to equip its infantry for the 21st century. “Europe’s Future Infantry” at eDefense Online looks at current trends and programs in a number of European countries with similar programs.
Efforts covered include Germany’s Infanterist der Zukunft, France’s FELIN (Fantassin a Equipements et Liaisons Integrees; or Integrated Soldier Equipment and Communications), the UK’s Future Integrated Soldier Technology (FIST) program, the more gradual approach of the Dutch Soldier Modernization Program, Sweden’s MARKUS (Markstridsutrustad Soldat; Ground Warfare Equipped Soldier), and some thoughts on Russia’s programs as it transitions to a professional force.
This article looks at the framework underneath the trend.
Rolls Royce has secured a GBP 137 million (USD $258 million) contract from the Defence Logistic Organisation’s Warships Support Agency of the British Ministry of Defence to service Olympus and Tyne engines for the Royal Navy and for the French, Belgian and Royal Netherlands navies.
Yesterday, we noted a $29.6 million contract (N00024-03-C-5330) to provide engineering and technical services in support of the Standard Missile-2 Guided Missile Program for Foreign Military Sales (FMS). As a follow-on to that contract, Raytheon Co. in Tucson, AZ received a $266 million firm-fixed-price modification for production of the FY 2005 SM-2 missile order to equip the U.S. Navy and the navies of Japan, the Netherlands, Germany, Taiwan, Canada, and Korea respectively. The SM-2 is the ultra-modern air defense missile on US warships equipped with advanced AEGIS radars, and a variant called the SM-3 is being tested as part of U.S. ballistic missile defense plans.
U.S. Navy orders include agreed quantities of Block IIIA All-Up-Rounds (AUR), Block IIIB AUR, Block IIIB ORDALT kits, AN/DKT-71A Telemetric Data Transmitting Sets (TDTS), and section level spares. The contract also includes procurement for other navies under the Foreign Military Sales Program of 99 SM-2 Block IIIA AUR, 64 SM-2 Block IIIB AUR, 51 AN/DKT-71A TDTS with Installation Kits, 25 various foreign military sales spare sections and 161 shipping missile containers. Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ (56%), Andover, MA (23%), Camden, AR (20%), and Farmington, NM (1%), and is expected to be completed by December 2007. The Naval Sea Systems Command in Washington, DC, issued the contract (N00024-04-C-5342).
Turkey has expressed interest in buying Eurofighters to meet the Turkish Air Force’s increasing need for fighter jets until deliveries of the U.S.-led Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) program actually begin. Turkey joined the F-35 JSF program in July 2002 and has expressed interest in up to 100 planes, but the F-35’s delivery to the Turkish Air Force isn’t scheduled until about 2015. In contrast, the Eurofighter is currently in production. More than 200 F-16 aircraft make up the backbone of Turkey’s current fighter fleet. A team of Turkish Air Force pilots, led by a colonel, test flew three Eurofighter jets in Italy on Feb. 22. They also test flew a C27J transport aircraft.
Raytheon Co., Tucson, AZ received a $45.2M firm-fixed-price modification to previously awarded contract (N00024-04-C-5456) for production of more RAM missiles and associated equipment. The RIM-116 RAM is a joint venture between the U.S. and German governments, designed as an all-weather, high-firepower, low-cost, self-defense system against anti-ship cruise missiles and other asymmetric threats. It is currently installed, or planned for installation, on 78 U.S. Navy and 30 German Navy ships.
Raytheon Co. in Tucson, AZ received a $29.6 cost-plus-award-fee modification to a previously awarded contract (N00024-03-C-5330) to provide engineering and technical services in support of the Standard Missile-2 Guided Missile Program for Foreign Military Sales (FMS). The SM-2 is the standard air defense missile on the USA’s AEGIS-equipped warships, and a variant called the SM-3 is being tested as part of U.S. missile defense plans. This modification satisfies the requirements of the following FMS customers: Germany (16.5%); Japan (16.67%); Korea (16.67%); the Netherlands (16.67%); Spain (16.67%); and Canada (16.67%). Work will be performed in Tucson, AZ and is expected to be completed by December 2005. The Naval Sea Systems Command, Washington, issued the contract modification.
The German government’s influential Green Party is calling two of the country’s biggest missile programs into question, and has also asked for an assessment of the nation’s missile industry. Programs under renewed scrutiny include a version of the Trigat anti-tank missile, and the multinational MEADS air defense and missile defense system.
European regulators have approved a deal between Finmeccanica SpA of Italy and Britain’s BAE Systems PLC to create Eurosystems, a set of joint ventures in defense electronics. A BAE spokesman said the deal would create a clearer management structure would also increase the chances of landing contracts in an industry dominated by heavyweight manufacturers. The deal breaks down as follows:
A recent D.I.D. article noted the recent launch of the Horizon class air defense frigates by a Franco-Italian consortium, and the platform’s coming modification to a multimission variant (Fregate Europeene Multi-Mission or FREMM). Now DefenseNews.com is reporting that Italy is in danger of reneging on its commitment to build 10 FREMM frigates at a cost of EUR 350 million (USD $468.6 million) per vessel. Analysts note that without the Italian work, economies of scale could be altered, affecting pricing for the French vessels as well. An Italian defense official has stated that funds for the program would be found before fall 2005. These kinds of procurement uncertainties are not uncommon in multi-national collaborative projects, including the Eurofighter.
In somewhat related news, two of the companies in the Franco-Italian consortium to produce the FREMM are denying merger rumours. Thales and Finmeccania have characterized the rumours as “premature”.