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Daily Defence Report

CMS Strategic News Report April 29

by CMS Team on 29 April, 2021

Thursday
April 29, 2021

Sea power backers propose $25 billion to fix US shipyards, Boeing cites China as a risk factor to its recovery efforts, South Korea chooses locally built marine helicopter over foreign offers, Space race with Musk heats up as Eutelsat takes stake in OneWeb.

Ministry of Defence

USA: Joint Exercises: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether HMS Queen Elizabeth will engage in a joint exercise with USS Dwight D Eisenhower as part of the deployment of Carrier Strike Group 21 to the Indian Ocean (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham).
• Answer from James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

“There are currently no plans for HMS Queen Elizabeth to exercise with USS Dwight D Eisenhower in the Indian Ocean as part of the 2021 Carrier Strike Group deployment.”

India: Joint Exercises: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, whether HMS Queen Elizabeth will engage in a joint exercise with the Indian Navy as part of Carrier Strike Group 21; and whether those exercises will include Indian Navy aircraft carriers (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham)
• Answer from James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

“HMS Queen Elizabeth is currently scheduled to visit India as part of her deployment in 2021. It is anticipated that the Carrier Strike Group will conduct an exercise with the Indian Navy as part of this. The scope of the exercise is currently being planned.”

Military Aircraft: Deployment: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, if he will publish details of the overseas (a) exercises and (b) deployments undertaken by (i) RAF Typhoon and (ii) F-35B forces in (A) 2019, (B) 2020 and (C) 2021; and if he will publish the number of aircraft on each of those (a) exercises and (b) deployments (Kevan Jones Labour, North Durham)
• Answer from James Heappey The Parliamentary Under-Secretary of State for Defence

“The attached table contains the requested overseas exercises and deployments of the Typhoon and Lightning Force. In addition, Typhoon and Lightning have conducted a number of overseas exercises in the Airspace of neighbouring NATO countries while operating from their home bases in UK, often with the support of Voyager Air-to-Air Refuelling.
186138 – Typhoon Lightning Overseas Deployments (docx, 17.0KB)”

Type 26 Frigates: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, what assessment he has made of the change to the timescale for the Type 26 construction programme of gearbox delays (Luke Pollard Shadow Secretary of State for Environment, Food and Rural Affairs).
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The Type 26 construction programme is sufficiently flexible to accommodate changes to the delivery of equipment without unduly impacting the in-service dates of the ships.”

Defence: Greenhouse Gas Emissions: To ask the Secretary of State for Defence, pursuant to the Answer of 18 January 2021 to Question 135975 on Armed Forces: Carbon Emissions, what the timetable is for the completion of the work on developing a methodology to expand the scope of defence greenhouse gas emissions reporting to include overseas activities (Deidre Brock Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Wales), Shadow SNP Spokesperson (Environment, Food and Rural Affairs)).
• Answer from Jeremy Quin The Minister of State, Ministry of Defence

“The Ministry of Defence (MOD) is intending to extend the scope of defence greenhouse gas emissions reporting in the Department’s Annual Report and Accounts for 2021-22.”

HERE ARE THE TOP INDUSTRY AND WORLD STORIES

Sea power backers propose $25 billion to fix US shipyards (Defense News)
• South Korea’s defense procurement agency has announced a plan to introduce locally built marine attack helicopters designed for amphibious assault and close-air support.
• The decision was made during a Defense Acquisition Program Administration meeting presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook on April 26. As a result, Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, the country’s only aircraft maker, is to develop and produce 24 armed variants of the Korea Utility Helicopter, dubbed Surion, for delivery as early as 2031.
• KAI developed the Surion with the help of Airbus Helicopters, formerly known as Eurocopter, in 2012 under a partnership forged in 2006. KAI has since produced more than 200 Surion helicopters for the Army and developed modified variants for different services, such as ones for medical evacuation, amphibious operations and law enforcement.
• The announcement will have slashed the hopes of foreign helicopter makers bidding for the $1.4 billion program. Among the foreign bidders were Bell Textron proposing its AH-1Z Viper; Boeing with the AH-64E Apache Guardian; Turkish Aerospace Industries offering the T129 ATAK; and Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky pitching the S-70i.
• “The decision was made after a comprehensive review of the operational capability and efficiency of the new helicopter fleet, in line with the helicopter’s interoperability with the existing fleet of amphibious helicopters for marines, namely Marineon,” the DAPA said in a statement.

Boeing cites China as a risk factor to its recovery efforts (FT)
• Boeing does not expect China to allow the 737 Max fly until the second half of the year, which could affect how fast the company increases production rates for the jet.
• On an earnings call on Wednesday, the aircraft maker’s executives highlighted the need for regulatory approval and overall US-China relations as risk factors for its business, along with Covid-19 infection rates and the pace of vaccinations.
• The Asian country is a critical market for Boeing, accounting for 25 per cent of the global aviation growth the company has forecast over the next decade.
• Boeing said it plans to increase production of the Max to 31 per month by early 2022. But chief financial officer Greg Smith said the timing of regulatory approval on the Max from Beijing “will affect our 737 delivery plan . . . and order activity from China will affect our future production rates”.
• Chief executive David Calhoun said Boeing was highlighting the US-China relationship now to ensure the new Biden administration “knows the importance of getting those relationships straight”.
• His remarks were like “exclaiming the risk of a car accident you’ve already been in”, said Richard Aboulafia, aerospace analyst at Teal Group.
• “A former Boeing executive once told me they’ve always been the designated hostage in any China stand-off,” he said. “It’s sort of bizarre that it’s been a couple years of galloping trade and geopolitical tensions, and it’s now showing up as an area of risk. Yeah, you think?”
• Boeing reported lower first-quarter revenue than a year ago, when it was in the midst of the 737 Max crisis, hurt by delays in 787 deliveries and a global pandemic that continues to depress airlines’ demand for planes.
• Revenue fell 10 per cent to $15.2bn in the first quarter, and the company reported a net loss of $561m. Its loss shrank slightly from the $641m net loss it posted for the same period a year ago.

South Korea chooses locally built marine helicopter over foreign offers (Defense News)
• South Korea’s defense procurement agency has announced a plan to introduce locally built marine attack helicopters designed for amphibious assault and close-air support.
• The decision was made during a Defense Acquisition Program Administration meeting presided over by Defense Minister Suh Wook on April 26. As a result, Korea Aerospace Industries, or KAI, the country’s only aircraft maker, is to develop and produce 24 armed variants of the Korea Utility Helicopter, dubbed Surion, for delivery as early as 2031.
• KAI developed the Surion with the help of Airbus Helicopters, formerly known as Eurocopter, in 2012 under a partnership forged in 2006. KAI has since produced more than 200 Surion helicopters for the Army and developed modified variants for different services, such as ones for medical evacuation, amphibious operations and law enforcement.
• The announcement will have slashed the hopes of foreign helicopter makers bidding for the $1.4 billion program. Among the foreign bidders were Bell Textron proposing its AH-1Z Viper; Boeing with the AH-64E Apache Guardian; Turkish Aerospace Industries offering the T129 ATAK; and Lockheed Martin subsidiary Sikorsky pitching the S-70i.
• “The decision was made after a comprehensive review of the operational capability and efficiency of the new helicopter fleet, in line with the helicopter’s interoperability with the existing fleet of amphibious helicopters for marines, namely Marineon,” the DAPA said in a statement.

Space race with Musk heats up as Eutelsat takes stake in OneWeb (FT)
• Eutelsat, the European satellite operator 20 per cent owned by the French state, is paying $550m for a 24 per cent stake in OneWeb, the space-based internet pioneer.
• It marks a substantial step forward for the group, rescued from bankruptcy by the UK government and India’s Bharti Global last year, in its satellite space race against Elon Musk, chief executive of SpaceX.
• OneWeb and SpaceX’s Starlink are aiming to launch mega constellations of low-earth orbit (Leo) satellites to deliver high-speed broadband from space.
• The deal brings into the fold one of the world’s largest fixed-satellite operators, with extensive commercial, government and institutional customers, who could be tapped to buy the low-latency satellite services offered by OneWeb’s low-earth orbit fleet, people close to the deal said.
• OneWeb and Eutelsat would explore combined configurations for future services, they said.
• OneWeb will now target annual revenues of more than $1bn within five years following the full deployment of the constellation, and it intended to deliver “a profitable wholesale approach”.
• These lower-earth orbit services, which have stronger signals and lower latency than traditional fixed-satellite systems, are seen as the answer to providing high-speed internet to the most remote parts of the planet. They will also be crucial for the delivery of autonomous systems.
• Some 90 Leo constellations have been announced globally, although SpaceX has the clear lead with almost 1,400 satellites already in orbit.

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WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON

Downing St concern at ‘paper trail’ over Boris Johnson’s flat redecoration (Times)
• Downing Street is concerned that the involvement of a Tory donor in funding Boris Johnson’s flat renovation has left a damaging paper trail at Conservative Party headquarters.
• The Electoral Commission launched an investigation yesterday of the party’s role in funding the redecoration of the home that he shares with his fiancée and son above 11 Downing Street.
• It said there were “reasonable grounds to suspect” that the law had been broken because of the failure to report donations.
• The commission has the power to order any individual — including the prime minister and his fiancée, Carrie Symonds — to hand over text messages, emails and other information considered relevant to the investigation. It can also compel them to attend interviews. If it is denied access to documents, it can secure a warrant to search for them.
• Johnson denied yesterday that he had personally breached the rules. His press secretary said he was prepared to give the commission evidence relating to the funding of the work.
• However, The Times has been told of concerns within No 10 about Conservative Campaign Headquarters (CCHQ).
• “The worry is that there could be a paper trail,” a government source said. “There was a very limited number of people who knew about the funding arrangements at CCHQ. It’s not clear how this will end.”

DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?

Coronavirus latest news: Roadmap can’t be safely accelerated despite vaccine success, says minister (Telegraph)

• The roadmap to lifting the lockdown restrictions in the UK cannot be safely accelerated despite the success of the vaccine rollout, a minister has said.
• Vaccines Minister Nadhim Zahawi said that while one in four adults had two doses, “we have to be careful”.
• He told Sky News: “If the vaccines have 85% efficacy and we vaccinate fully 85% of the adult population, that is still only 72% protection – that is quite a sizeable percentage for the virus to go after and infect, which is why we have to be careful. The good news is we’re not seeing any evidence that would lead us to believe we can’t meet the next step in May and, ultimately, June 21.
• “It is much better to be careful and follow the data and collect the data properly, analyse and then make a decision rather than – we all want obviously to get our freedoms back as quickly as possible but let us do this properly and let’s do it safely.”
• On whether restrictions could be lifted as per the road map, Mr Zahawi said: “The data is looking good and positive but nevertheless we really have to be careful because what we don’t want is mutations, for example, to blindside us and then have another spike.”
REPORTING TO YOU

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