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Daily Defence Report

CMS Strategic News Report April 19

by CMS Team on 19 April, 2021

Monday
April 19, 2021

British warships head for Black Sea as Russian troops mass on Ukrainian border, Britain calls out Russia for ‘malign’ cyber attacks, Honeywell announces alternative military-grade navigation technology, New powers to kick out spies from hostile states as concerns mount over Russia and China/

Ministry of Defence

Fleet Solid Support Ships: Procurement: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, when he plans to issue the invitation to tender for the Fleet Solid Support Ships; and what steps he will take to ensure the use of British steel in those ships (John Spellar Labour, Warley)

• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The Contract Notice and Pre-Qualification Questionnaire is planned for issue in spring 2021 and consideration of the responses received will determine the exact date for issue of the Invitation To Negotiate. It is too early to say what the steel requirement for the Fleet Solid Support ships might be. Responsibility for sourcing steel for the ships will rest with the prime contractor, who will make their steel requirements known to the UK steel industry in line with Cabinet Office guidelines.”

Shipping: Procurement: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what estimate he has made of the number of (a) Royal Navy personnel, (b) Royal Fleet Auxiliary personnel and (c) other civilians who will be part of the crew of the new Multi Role Ocean Surveillance ship, whether the new Multi Role Ocean Surveillance ship for the Royal Navy will be (a) built in British shipyards, (b) built abroad, (c) reconfigured from an existing vessel in a British shipyard or (d) reconfigured from an existing vessel abroad. (Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The new Royal Navy Multi Role Ocean Surveillance vessel announced in the Integrated Review is in its pre-concept phase; therefore, no decisions have yet been taken on the procurement approach nor the crewing model.”

Type 31 Frigates: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many and what proportion of evaluation criteria for the Type 31 were attributed to social value (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham)
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The evaluation criteria for the Type 31 programme required bidders to deliver a prosperity and exports strategy as part of the design and build contract. This strategy contains the contractor’s commitment to deliver improvements in areas such as supply chain development, social welfare, skills and productivity enhancements, as well as exports. In addition to the specific requirement for a prosperity and exports strategy, prosperity benefits to the UK were inherent throughout the Type 31 evaluation criteria not least because of the requirement that the ships must be built in the UK, but also because of the emphasis placed on exportability.”

Nuclear Submarines: Devonport Dockyard: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many retired Royal Navy nuclear submarines HMNB Devonport has capacity for (Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“We anticipate that there will be capacity at HMNB Devonport for laid up submarines until the mid-2030s.”

Minesweepers: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what the retirement date is of the Royal Navy’s mine hunters (Tobias Ellwood Chair, Defence Committee, Chair, Defence Committee, Chair, Defence Sub-Committee, Chair, Defence Sub-Committee)

• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“I refer my right hon. Friend to the answers I gave on 7 December 2020 and 20 March 2021 to Questions 122598 and 172897 to the right hon. Member for North Durham (Kevan Jones).
172897 – Minesweepers (docx, 14.0KB)
122598 – Minesweepers Decommissioning (docx, 13.7KB)”

Portsmouth Dockyard: Carbon Emissions: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment his Department has made of the proportion of his Department’s overall emissions of HM Naval Base Portsmouth; and what steps his Department is taking to reduce emissions at that base to meet Greening Government Commitments (Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence))
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“HM Naval Base Portsmouth is responsible for 3.2% of the total greenhouse gas emissions from Defence managed sites. The Base has seven major projects in hand to deliver energy efficiency measures and these projects will contribute to the ambition of achieving Net Zero Carbon at the site by 2030.”

Portsmouth Dockyard: Carbon Emissions: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how his Department measures its contribution towards the Government’s emissions targets; and if his Department will publish what the volume of its carbon emissions have been by operational area in each of the last five years (Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence))
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The Ministry of Defence (MOD) annual energy consumption by fuel type and associated total carbon emissions for the current year and previous two years is published in the Energy and Carbon Annex to the MOD Annual Report and Accounts. MOD emissions from the defence estate and domestic business travel are reported through in Greening Government Commitment and include in the Public Sector element of the UK carbon budgets.”

Defence: Infrastructure: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish details on the performance management framework included in the Future Defence Infrastructure Services Programme (Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence))
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The Future Defence Infrastructure Services (FDIS) programme is responsible for putting new arrangements in place for the future delivery of Facilities Management (FM) across the Defence Estate. A copy of Schedule 14 (Performance Management) for the National Accommodation Management Services (NAMS) and Regional Accommodation Management (RAMS) will be published in the Library of the House when the contracts have been awarded.”

Armoured Fighting Vehicles: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what recent assessment he has made of the adequacy of the Army’s Armoured Vehicle capacity (Andrew Rosindell Conservative, Romford))
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The Army, as outlined in the Defence Command Paper, is receiving significant and ongoing investment in its armoured capability. The new Boxer and Ajax, and the upgraded Challenger Main Battle Tank will make up the core of the Army’s two future Heavy Brigade Combat Teams. We will be more capable against peer adversaries and integrated with our NATO Allies and partners.”

Joint Strike Fighter Aircraft: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether components for the F-35b aircraft manufactured in the US will be subject to ITAR. (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham)
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“Items subject to ITAR (International Traffic in Arms Regulations), including F-35B aircraft and components, are a matter for the United States Government. The categories of items covered by ITAR are published in the United States Munitions List.”

HERE ARE THE TOP INDUSTRY AND WORLD STORIES

British warships head for Black Sea as Russian troops mass on Ukrainian border (Telegraph)
• Royal Navy warships will sail for the Black Sea next month as tensions continue to rise between Ukrainian and Russian forces.
• Putting the ships off the coast of Ukraine is intended to show solidarity with Kiev and Nato allies in the region after the President Biden decided to cancel the deployment of two American warships to the Black Sea last week for fear of escalating the crisis over the massing of Russian troops.
• One Type 45 destroyer armed with anti-aircraft missiles and an anti-submarine Type 23 frigate will peel off from the Royal Navy’s carrier task group in the Mediterranean and head through the Bosphorus into the Black Sea, according to senior naval sources.
• RAF F-35B Lightning stealth jets and Merlin submarine-hunting helicopters are to stand ready on the task group’s flag ship, the carrier HMS Queen Elizabeth, to support the warships in the Black Sea should they be threatened by Russian warships, submarines or aircraft. HMS Queen Elizabeth has to stay in the Mediterranean because an international treaty prohibits aircraft carriers from entering the Black Sea.
• The Royal Navy announced in February, before the current crisis, that the carrier’s supporting warships and aircraft would carry out the missions into the Black Sea as part of HMS Queen Elizabeth’s deployment to the Far East. The Ministry of Defence confirmed on Friday that the naval foray would go ahead despite the US decision to keep its warships out of the crisis zone.

Britain calls out Russia for ‘malign’ cyber attacks (Telegraph)
• It came as Joe Biden imposed tough new economic sanctions on Moscow, and expelled 10 Russian diplomats, over the same SolarWinds hack that caused chaos to US government computer systems last year.
• For the first time, the UK’s National Cyber Security Centre, the defensive branch of GCHQ, confirmed that a “low single-digit number” of public sector organisations had been hit, although it said the impact had been “low”.
• It refused to confirm reports that NHS trusts were among the infiltrated targets, but a Government source said the “objective was espionage, aiming to obtain information”.
• At the Foreign Office, Sir Philip Barton, the Permanent Under Secretary, expressed Britain’s “deep concern” to Andrei Kelin, the Russian ambassador, over a “pattern of malign activity” including cyber attacks, interference in democratic processes, and the build-up of military forces near Ukraine.
• The ambassador was told the Kremlin “needs to cease its provocations”.

Honeywell announces alternative military-grade navigation technology (Shephard News)
• Honeywell unveils three new military-grade navigation technologies
• Honeywell has successfully demonstrated multiple new alternative navigation technologies designed for military aircraft. According to Honeywell, the new technologies will ensure seamless navigation when GPS systems are blocked or unavailable.
• Vision-Aided Navigation uses a live optical or IR camera feed and compares with maps to provide accurate positioning, with GPS level accuracy, when GPS jamming may be present.
• Celestial-Aided Navigation observes stars and reference objects orbiting the earth to determine position and velocity in the same way GPS does.
• Magnetic Anomaly-Aided Navigation measures magnetic strength with sensors and uses geographical magnetic map data to identify the position of an aircraft relative to the Earth.
• These alternative navigation systems are still in development but will be available in 2022, with initial deliveries to begin in 2023.

New powers to kick out spies from hostile states as concerns mount over Russia and China (Times)
• Foreign spies operating in Britain face being prosecuted and deported under new laws to protect the nation from hostile states such as China and Russia.
• Boris Johnson will use the Queen’s Speech on May 11 to announce a bill to counter hostile states, including a requirement for all individuals working on behalf of foreign governments in Britain to register their presence. Failure to do so would be a criminal offence.
• The government will also update the “archaic” Official Secrets Act so it can be used against individuals who try to undermine Britain’s interests from abroad, including cyberhackers working on behalf of hostile states. Johnson is determined to press ahead with the measures amid mounting concern over the activities of Russia and China.
• Relations deteriorated further yesterday when Dominic Raab, the foreign secretary, said that Britain stood in “full support” of the Czech government after the country’s police said they were searching for two men whose passports matched the names of the suspects in the Salisbury novichok attack.
• The Czech Republic is expelling 18 Russian diplomats it has identified as spies in a case related to a huge explosion at an ammunition depot in the town of Vrbetice in 2014. Raab said the Czech authorities had exposed a “pattern of behaviour by Moscow, following the novichok attack in Salisbury”.

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WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

UK aerospace industry raises alarm over pause in R&D state funding (Telegraph)
• Britain’s Aerospace Technology Institute, which allocates state funding for innovation in the sector, is suspending bids for new research projects until next year, in a move that is raising concerns over the UK government’s commitment to green aviation.
• Companies bidding for government funds to support research into technologies such as electric aviation, hydrogen technology and innovative wing design have been told the ATI has “no scope” to commit to new projects this financial year, according to several people with knowledge of the subject.
• The squeeze on funding has been caused by a surge in demand from new projects combined with existing schemes delaying the draw down of funds due to the pandemic. A government official insisted there had been no cut to the budget.
• The ATI was created in 2013 as a collaboration between government and industry to set the sector’s technology strategy. About 80 per cent of its current research projects contribute in some way to lower emissions, according to the ATI.
• The move to pause funding for new projects comes amid growing criticism of the government’s failure to set out detailed plans on how it intends to reach its target of net zero greenhouse gas emissions by 2050. Critics have accused chancellor Rishi Sunak of publishing a “climate lite” budget in March, with little concrete support from the Treasury for the transition.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

Boris Johnson cries foul over plan for football ‘super league’ (Times)

• Boris Johnson has stepped in to oppose plans for a football “Super League” in which six leading English clubs would become permanent members of a new European competition.
• The prime minister said the league would damage the sport more widely and that the English clubs who had signed up to the plan — Manchester United, Liverpool, Chelsea, Arsenal, Manchester City and Tottenham Hotspur — should not take further steps.
• The league would replace the Champions League, with the clubs playing other top European sides, such as Barcelona and Real Madrid, every year without having to qualify for the tournament. There would be an incentive of up to €350 million for each club to join and more money from television rights, though the clubs would want to remain in the Premier League.
• Johnson said: “Plans for a European Super League would be very damaging for football and we support football authorities in taking action. They would strike at the heart of the domestic game, and will concern fans across the country. The clubs must answer to their fans and the wider footballing community before taking any further steps.”
• President Macron also stated his opposition and praised French clubs for so far refusing to participate.

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