May 14, 2021
Britain buys 14 new Chinook helos, but it’ll take a decade for full delivery, Russia plans higher defence investment after 2024, Germany, Poland agree to defend each other’s airspace, Top US Air Force general suggests future fighter-jet fleet won’t include the F-22 Raptor.
HERE ARE THE TOP INDUSTRY AND WORLD STORIES
Britain buys 14 new Chinook helos, but it’ll take a decade for full delivery (Defense News)
• Britain has confirmed it will acquire 14 Boeing-made Chinook helicopters, but the government has prolonged the delivery schedule over the next decade years due to budget issues.
• The deal was made through the U.S. Defense Department’s Foreign Military Sales process and will see Britain pay £1.4 billion (U.S. $2 billion) for the helicopters and associated equipment. Deliveries are scheduled to start in 2026 and be completed in 2030. That’s about three years behind the original plan, as the British Defence Ministry has prioritized more pressing modernization needs ahead of the helo acquisition.
• The agreement includes development work and manufacturing of the extended-range helicopter over the next decade. Over its 40 years in service with the British military, the Chinook helicopter has been used for a diverse range of roles, from special forces operations to cargo carrying and civil emergencies. The forthcoming helicopter, known as the H-47 (ER), is destined primarily for special forces operations.
• Officially announcing the deal May 13, Defence Secretary Ben Wallace said the “cutting-edge H-47 (ER) will be at the forefront of our specialist requirements in dealing with threats and logistic support. Our £1.4 billion investment will mean we will be one of very few air forces with this capability.”
• The government signaled its intention to go ahead with the deal when the Ministry of Defence outlined its equipment plans as part of the integrated review of defense, security and foreign policy launched in March.
Russia plans higher defence investment after 2024 (Shephard News)
• A draft 2024-2033 State Armament Programme should be ready by September.
• The Russian government is set to increase defence spending from the mid-2020s in the next State Armament Programme, although the prospects may not be as rosy as they seem.
• Andrey Yelchaninov, first deputy chairman of the board of the Russian Military-Industrial Commission, said last month that Russia plans to allocate ‘as much as 21 trillion to 22 trillion roubles’ [$284 billion to $297 billion] between 2024 and 2033.
• Work on the new state programme is already underway. A draft document (including analysis of the expected defence threats facing Russia until 2053) should be ready by 1 September.
• Russia spent RUB19 trillion on the 2011-2020 State Armament Programme, and the current programme (for 2018-2027) accounts for RUB20 trillion.
• Despite optimistic official declarations from Yelchaninov and other government officials, the state of the Russian economy gives cause for concern that higher defence spending is unsustainable.
• Inflation has grown by 84% since the first State Armament Programme began in 2011; in real terms, this means the amount that Russia can allocate to defence programmes is already twice less than it was in 2011, not taking into account any potential changes in the economy between now and 2024.
• The economic situation is aggravated by the negative impact of the COVID-19 pandemic and escalating tensions with the West.
• In July 2020, the Russian Ministry of Finance proposed a 5% cut (or about RUB225 billion) to the 2018-2027 State Armament Programme. These cuts would be implemented over the next three ye
Germany, Poland agree to defend each other’s airspace (Janes)
• Germany and Poland have agreed to allow each other’s combat aircraft to cross their national borders in the event of a quick reaction alert (QRA) scramble.
• Announced on 12 May, the agreement signed in Warsaw between the German and Polish defence ministries will allow Luftwaffe Eurofighters to cross into Poland and Polish air force (Inspektorat Sił Powietrznych: ISP) Lockheed Martin F-16 Fighting Falcon and MiG-29 ‘Fulcrum’ fighters to cross into Germany.
• “This agreement will be the future, to allow our QRA fighter aircraft to operate across borders in our combined airspace,” said Commander Centre Air Operations, Luftwaffe Lieutenant General Klaus Habersetzer. “This not only protects our own populations, but it is ultimately good for the whole [NATO] alliance.”
• As Gen Habersetzer noted, this agreement will form part of NATO’s enhanced Air Policing (eAP) mission that also includes missions that cover Albania; Iceland; Slovenia; the Baltic nations of Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; the Benelux nations of Belgium, the Netherlands, and Luxembourg; the Baltic Air Policing mission over Estonia, Latvia, and Lithuania; and the Southern Air Policing nations of Bulgaria and Romania.
Top US Air Force general suggests future fighter-jet fleet won’t include the F-22 Raptor (Business Insider)
• The US Air Force is thinking about what its future fighter fleet might look like, and that picture apparently doesn’t include the fifth-generation F-22 Raptor.
• Air Force Chief of Staff Gen. Charles “CQ” Brown said at a McAleese and Associates conference Wednesday that the service is trying to find the right mix of aircraft for the future fleet through an internal tactical air study, according to multiple reports.
• “Right now we have seven fighter fleets,” Brown said, according to Defense One. “My intent is to get down to about four … really a four plus one,” with the A-10, a ground-attack aircraft rather than a pure fighter, as the plus-one.
• The general said that the mix could include the A-10 and F-16 “for a while,” the F-35, which “will be the cornerstone” for the fleet, the F-15EX, and then the Next Generation Air Dominance (NGAD) fighter.
Follow CMS Strategic on Twitter for breaking defence news as it happens
WE’RE KEEPING AN EYE ON
Millions face early second vaccine to slow Indian coronavirus strain (Times)
• Ten million people could have their second doses of coronavirus vaccines brought forward as the government attempts to stop a faster spreading Indian variant from delaying the end of restrictions.
• Cases of the variant have more than doubled in a week and Boris Johnson said yesterday that he was “anxious” about the threat posed by the strain to the route out of lockdown.
• Indoor mixing will go ahead as planned on Monday despite calls yesterday from scientists and Dominic Cummings for it to be postponed.
• But modelling for Sage has concluded that if the variant is much more than 30 per cent more transmissible than the Kent strain it would be a big risk not to delay the final easing of restrictions next month.
• However, today the Welsh government “paused” plans to allow smaller events to reopen, as well as relaxing rules on people meeting, due to the variant. “We had thought of moving ahead with the reopening of smaller events, we’ll pause that for a moment,” Mark Drakeford, the Welsh first minister, told Sky News.
DID YOU HEAR ABOUT THIS?
Labour suspends union boss Howard Beckett after he called for Priti Patel to be deported (Telegraph)
• A candidate for the leadership of one of Britain’s biggest trade unions was last night suspended from the Labour Party and reported to the police after calling for Priti Patel to be deported.
• Howard Beckett, a leading candidate to succeed Len McCluskey as general secretary of Unite, said that the home secretary should be removed from the country rather than two asylum seekers detained by Border Force officials in Glasgow yesterday.
• He tweeted: “Priti Patel should be deported, not refugees. She can go along with anyone else who supports institutional racism. She is disgusting.”
• The comments were widely criticised across the Labour Party, of whose ruling national executive committee Beckett, an outspoken opponent of Sir Keir Starmer’s leadership, is a member.
• A Labour spokesman told The Times last night that the party took “these allegations extremely seriously” and that “appropriate action will be taken”.
REPORTING TO YOU
CMS Strategic produces bespoke newsfeeds and reporting services for its clients around the world. To talk to us about how we can deliver bespoke newsfeeds for you and your team, contact our news team.
QUICK THINGS TO KNOW
• Byelection: Anum Qaisar-Javed holds Airdrie seat for SNP in byelection Guardian
• Cop26: Last hope over climate crisis requires end to coal, says Alok Sharma Guardian
• Coronavirus live news: Japan prefectures to declare emergency; Ireland’s health IT systems suffer ransomware attack Guardian
This letter was edited and brought to you by CMS Strategic. You can always reach us here
Want to be notified as soon as news breaks? Follow CMS Strategic on Twitter