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Daily Defence Report

CMS Strategic News Report April 20

by CMS Team on 20 April, 2021

Tuesday
April 20, 2021

MI5 warns 10,000 British officials targeted for recruitment by hostile states on sites like LinkedIn, Nasa celebrates maiden helicopter flight on Mars, Lockheed continues work on Japanese Aegis, French Navy receives first FREMM air defence frigate.

Ministry of Defence

Army: Vehicles: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many Enhanced Pallet Load System trucks the British Army has; and where those vehicles were manufactured (John Spellar Labour, Warley)
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The British Army’s UK fleet consists of 559 Enhanced Pallet Load System (EPLS) vehicles, all originally manufactured in Austria with the majority acquired between 2008 and 2013.
In November 2018 work began to upgrade 382 of the EPLS 15-tonne Support Vehicle platforms. The conversions took place in Manchester, with all upgraded vehicles now in service.”

Army: Recruitment: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how many British Army recruits have been enlisted from each parliamentary constituency since 2010 (John Healey Shadow Secretary of State for Defence)
• Answer from James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

“The attached spreadsheet contains information detailing intake to the UK Regulars by Constituency for the British Army between 2013-14 and 2019-20 inclusive. Information to cover the period prior to that is not readily available and could only be provided at disproportionate cost.
British Army (xlsx, 40.9KB)”

Military Aircraft: Helicopters: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment his Department has made of the effectiveness of procuring Blackhawk helicopters from the US (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham).
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The Blackhawk is a medium lift helicopter. The Defence Command Paper announced an investment in a new medium lift helicopter in the mid-2020s that will enable a consolidation of Defence’s fleet of medium lift helicopters from four platform types to one. The programme is in the early stages, with requirements currently being refined and no decisions have yet been made on the procurement strategy.”

Defence: Carbon Emissions: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, how his Department plans to incorporate commitments to reduce defence emissions in declarations resulting from COP26 (Stephen Morgan Shadow Minister (Defence) (Armed Forces and Defence Procurement), Shadow Minister (Defence))
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“On 30 March, MOD has launched the Defence Climate Change and Sustainability Strategic Approach. The document sets out the ambition, the principles and the methods needed for UK Defence to meet the challenge of climate change. We anticipate that the actions set out in the strategic approach will enable the Department to respond to any declarations resulting from COP26.”

Shipbuilding: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether his Department has plans to reaffirm the National Shipbuilding Strategy in 2021 (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham)
• Answer from Ben Wallace The Secretary of State for Defence

“On 16 March 2021, I announced that we are currently conducting a refresh of the National Shipbuilding Strategy which will be published this summer. This will set out this Government’s commitment to the entire UK shipbuilding enterprise and the supply chain that underpins it.”

Military Aircraft: Helicopters: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will list all the types of helicopters in use in (a) the Royal Navy, (b) the British Army and (c) the RAF (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

“Pilot operated helicopters in service with each of the Armed Forces are provided in the following table:

Royal Navy Army RAF
Wildcat Mk1 Wildcat Mk1 Chinook Mk5
Wildcat HMA Mk2 Apache Mk1 Chinook Mk6
Merlin HM2 Gazelle Mk1 Chinook Mk6a
Merlin Mk3/3a/iMk3 Puma Mk2
Merlin Mk4/4a Juno HT1
Jupiter HT1

In addition, the Ministry of Defence has access to civilian owned helicopters provided through commercial arrangements with industry.

HERE ARE THE TOP INDUSTRY AND WORLD STORIES

MI5 warns 10,000 British officials targeted for recruitment by hostile states on sites like LinkedIn (Telegraph)

• MI5 warns 10,000 British officials have been targeted for recruitment by hostile states on sites like LinkedIn.
• Virtually all government departments and key industries have been approached by malicious profiles on behalf of hostile states on a premier professional networking siteover the last 5 years.
• The British security service warned a considerable volume of these individuals have, at first, unwittingly gone on to engage online, potentially risking national security.
• Launching a security campaign alongside intelligence agencies in the US, Canada, Australia and New Zealand – the 5 Eyes intelligence alliance – Ken McCallum, the Director General of MI5 said: “Malicious profiles on professional networking sites are being utilised on an industrial scale.
• “This campaign, which harnesses the insight derived from our intelligence, behavioural science experts and co-operation of 5 Eyes partners, will strengthen the UK’s collective defences against this activity.”
• MI5 research suggests individuals are particularly vulnerable to approaches by foreign intelligence organisations if they identify themselves as government officials or civil servants, or say they hold special security clearance.
• People working in the private sector or academia with access to classified or commercially sensitive technology are also at risk.
• Researchers connected to the defence industry are a prime target, given their access to sensitive intelligence.
• Alan Kohler, Jr., Assistant Director of the Federal Bureau of Investigation’s Counterintelligence Division, warned hostile states “must now contend with the efforts of five united countries working in partnership to combat their hostile actions”.

Nasa celebrates maiden helicopter flight on Mars (FT)
• On Monday morning a little helicopter called Ingenuity rose just three metres above the Martian surface, hovered for half a minute, swivelled and landed again.
• Those 40 seconds in the air represented what Nasa engineers called a “Wright Brothers moment” — the first powered, controlled flight of an aircraft on another planet.
• Project scientists applauded as altimetry data arrived at mission headquarters, Jet Propulsion Lab in California, confirming the success of Ingenuity’s maiden flight.
• They cheered as a black-and-white photo taken downward from the drone showed its shadow on the Martian surface, and again when the helicopter rose, hovered and descended in a colour video recorded by Nasa’s Perseverance rover 70 metres away.
• “We can now say that human beings have flown a rotorcraft on another planet,” Ingenuity project manager MiMi Aung told her colleagues, who were clad in orange T-shirts.
• Ingenuity had arrived on Jezero Crater, close to the Martian equator, on February 18 after a seven-month journey from Earth strapped to the belly of Perseverance.

Lockheed continues work on Japanese Aegis (Shephard News)
• Work on latest Aegis FMS contract modification for Lockheed Martin is to be completed by the end of 2022.
• Lockheed Martin Rotary and Mission Systems has obtained a $65.93 million sole-source FMS contract modification from the US Missile Defense Agency (MDA) for the Case JA-P-NCO contract connected with the Aegis Ashore ballistic missile defence system for Japan.
• ‘This modification extends performance and expands Aegis FMS in-scope work including Aegis Combat System computer program development and radar integration/test support services under new contract line item numbers,’ the DoD announced on 16 April.
• Lockheed Martin will complete this work by 31 December 2022. The modification brings the cumulative value of the contract to $124.53 million.
• Although the Japanese government announced in June 2020 that it planned to discontinue Aegis Ashore on technical and financial grounds, Lockheed Martin continues to perform engineering design support and analysis.
• Shephard Defence Insight notes that all elements of Aegis Ashore, including the SPY-1 air search radar, the Aegis Weapons Control System and the Mk 41 Vertical Launching System, are already in use in land-based applications in the US that range from development and integration test facilities to launch and production test facilities.

French Navy receives first FREMM air defence frigate (Shephard News)
• Naval Group announced on 16 April the delivery of the FREMM DA air defence frigate Alsace to the French Navy base in Toulon.
• Alsace is the first of the two air defence frigates to be delivered to the French Navy as part of the FREMM multimission frigate programme.
• French shipbuilder Naval Group reported that the ship would be based in Toulon, and its delivery is on schedule despite the difficulties posed by the COVID-19 pandemic.
• Naval Group Chairman and CEO Pierre Eric Pommellet said in an official statement: ‘We are very pleased to be here in Toulon for the delivery, on schedule despite the [COVID-19] health crisis, of this first FREMM multimission frigate with enhanced air defence capability.’
• FREMM is one of the most ambitious and innovative European naval defence projects to date, involving 18 ships: eight for France and ten for Italy. These will be a mixture of anti-submarine warfare, anti-air warfare (like Alsace) and general-purpose variants.
• Naval Group has been building French FREMM vessels since November 2012. Design work on Alsace began in 2016, and the ship was launched in April 2019.

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WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

India added to Covid travel ‘red list’ from Friday (Times)
• Ministers have been accused of waiting too long to impose a travel ban on India as it emerged that thousands of people had arrived from the country since a worrying new variant first emerged there.
• Yesterday Matt Hancock, the health secretary, said the government had taken the “difficult but vital decision” to put India on the travel red list after the number of confirmed cases of the variant in Britain rose to 103, with some catching it in this country.
• It will mean that from 4am on Friday returning UK residents will have to quarantine in a government hotel for ten days while others will be refused admittance.
• Boris Johnson cancelled a planned trip to India next week where he had hoped to set out plans for a post-Brexit free-trade deal while securing the release of millions of vaccine doses for Britain.
• It is estimated that about 900 people a day arrive into the UK from India, with five flights from the country landing yesterday.
• Nalin Kohli, a national spokesperson for India’s ruling BJP, today said there was a “lack of data” behind the UK government’s decision to add India to Covid travel red list. Speaking to Radio 4’s Today programme, Kohli said: “When the so-called UK variant of Covid-19 came, India didn’t halt any flights from the UK.

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

UK regulator gives green light to delivery drone trials (FT)

• Drones flown by remote pilots using only cameras and sensors to guide their aircraft moved a step closer to regular use on Tuesday with the UK aviation regulator announcing trials that, if successful, could transform the logistics sector.
• Drones are currently banned from flying beyond the line of sight of their pilots under almost all circumstances, meaning it has been difficult to roll out the technology at scale on logistical tasks such as inspecting critical infrastructure or flying deliveries in urban areas.
• But the Civil Aviation Authority (CAA) has authorised West Sussex-based drone company Sees.ai to begin operating regular flights beyond the pilot’s line of sight at three locations in the UK, to test the safety of opening the technology up to the wider industry.
• The drones will be flown by pilots who could be based hundreds or even thousands of miles away from their aircraft. The tests will take place on industrial sites well away from the public and other aircraft, the CAA said.
• The regulator added that removing the limitation “fires the starting gun for the next phase of growth of the drone industry”.
• John McKenna, the chief executive of Sees.ai, said the trials are a step towards drones regularly using a mixture of sensors and cameras to fly autonomously, without the need for human pilots at all.

REPORTING TO YOU

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• UK Covid live: ministers created confusion by muddling lockdown guidance with law, police watchdog says Guardian

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