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25 juin 2013 2 25 /06 /juin /2013 11:35
Australia: 1000th Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon delivered to Defence

25.06.2013 Pacific Sentinel
 

 
Minister for Defence Materiel Dr Mike Kelly AM MP today announced the delivery of the 1000th Mercedes-Benz G-Wagon under Project LAND 121 Phase 3A.
 
The new G-Wagons, along with Australian-made trailers, are being rolled out to Army and Royal Australian Air Force units as part of LAND 121 ‘Project Overlander’, a $7.5 billion program delivering more than 7500 protected and unprotected vehicles to the Australian Defence Force (ADF) over the next decade.
 
“The new G-Wagons will help prepare ADF personnel for operations and provide the flexibility to undertake a wide range of tasks in difficult off-road conditions, while ensuring that Australian soldiers are better prepared and equipped,” Dr Kelly said.
 
The new variants are used as tactical training vehicles and for a wide range of support tasks. 
 
“G-Wagon variants include utility, ambulance, surveillance and reconnaissance, mobile command post variants, and even a canine variant to transport military working dogs and their handlers,” Dr Kelly said.
 
Dr Kelly congratulated Mercedes-Benz on the delivery of the first 1000 G-Wagons, adding that the G-Wagon represents a big step forward for the ADF’s tactical training capability.
 
“Today’s handover of the 1000th G-Wagon represents an important milestone at the Mercedes-Benz facility in Mulgrave, Victoria,” Dr Kelly said.
 
“At the Mulgrave facility, modules and tray bodies provided by G.H. Varley in Newcastle are integrated with the vehicles and pre-delivery work is undertaken.”
 
A total of 2146 G-Wagons are being rolled out to ADF units between July 2012 and June 2016.
 
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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 16:50
Cassidian CyberSecurity presents innovative cyber defense offering at the 50th Paris Air Show

Paris Air Show,  17 June 2013 - eads.com

 

        Innovative global cyber defense offering combining trusted security solutions and services with high-level human expertise.

        Cassidian CyberSecurity supports governments, critical national infrastructures and industries

        Cassidian CyberSecurity aims at becoming a European leader providing trusted high grade cyber security products and solutions

 

Cyber attacks today affect all sectors, especially those with high added value, including aeronautics. All organizations are threatened by the risk of intrusion into their systems by viruses or malwares; with these weapons, attackers can alter the data transmitted, steal confidential information or disrupt the activity of their target.

 

Given the growing number and diversity of cyber attacks, Cassidian CyberSecurity has been created to support governments, critical national infrastructures and industries in their daily fight against cyber threats. Cassidian CyberSecurity's expert teams are based in France, the UK and Germany where they work closely with the respective government authorities in order to put in place dynamic solutions needed to detect and combat these threats.

 

Cassidian CyberSecurity has developed a comprehensive approach. Combining high-level human expertise with innovative security solutions and services to effectively combat the attacks, this approach comprises seven steps ranging from awareness raising to post-recovery remote-monitoring.

 

On the occasion of Paris Air Show, Cassidian CyberSecurity presents these tools, in particular Cymerius®, which is a key component of real-time supervision of the most sensitive networks, providing the operators with a detailed reaction plan.

 

Jean-Micel Orozco, CEO of Cassidian CyberSecurity declares: “Paris Air show is a major opportunity to present our cyber security competences. Cassidian CyberSecurity aims at becoming a European leader providing high grade trusted cyber security products and solutions to its customers"

 

To achieve this goal, the company relies on an ambitious growth strategy. On 29 April, Cassidian CyberSecurity announced the acquisition of Arkoon Network Security, one of the key players in network security, information systems protection and data confidentiality. Six months after the acquisition of Netasq, this buyout is an additional step in Cassidian CyberSecurity's growth.

 

About CASSIDIAN

 

Cassidian, the defence division of EADS, is a worldwide leader in defence and security solutions. The company delivers advanced defence systems along the whole action chain from sensors through command & control systems to combat aircraft and unmanned air systems. In the area of security, Cassidian provides customers worldwide with border surveillance systems, cyber security solutions and secure communications. In 2012, Cassidian – with around 23,000 employees – achieved revenues of € 5.7 billion.

 

About Cassidian CyberSecurity

 

Cassidian CyberSecurity is a 100% Cassidian company entirely devoted to addressing the cyber security market across Europe and the Middle-East, operating from France, the United Kingdom and Germany. Cassidian CyberSecurity’s high-grade expertise includes “Cyber Defence & Professional Services” focusing on high-grade professional services and establishing Security Operation Centres; “Trusted infrastructure” aiming at cryptography, digital identity management and high-security national solutions, and “Secure Mobility”, focused on services for mobile device security. To reinforce its solutions and establish a European cluster for cyber-security products and services, Cassidian CyberSecurity took over Netasq in 2012 and of Arkoon Network Security in 2013. Cassidian CyberSecurity generated revenues of 80 million euros in 2012, with a workforce of 600 people, which it plans to double by 2017.

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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 12:50
Salon du Bourget -Les hélicoptères de l’armée de Terre à l’honneur

19/06/2013  CNE S. CATALAN - Armée de Terre

 

Du 17 au 23 juin 2013, la 50e édition du salon international de l’aéronautique et de l’espace du Bourget ouvre ses portes aux professionnels et au public. L’espace institutionnel du ministère de la Défense accueille l’Aviation légère de l’armée de Terre (ALAT).

 

Un hélicoptère Nh90 Caïman, du Centre de formation interarmées et un Tigre du 5ème Régiment d’hélicoptères de combat et leurs équipages seront présents en statique sur le stand du ministère de la Défense. Un espace « aérocombat » sera également proposé aux visiteurs avec, notamment, une démonstration du système de Module de Préparation de Mission des Équipages (MPME) et un clip sur la manœuvre aéroterrestre de l’ALAT. L’aérocombat a montré son rôle central et prépondérant sur plusieurs théâtres, (Afghanistan, Libye et Mali), lui conférant un statut de pôle d’excellence pour l’armée de Terre. L’ALAT regroupe les deux tiers des hélicoptères de la Défense.

 

Exceptionnellement, cette année, un hélicoptère Tigre HAP (hélicoptère appui protection) français et un hélicoptère Tigre KHS allemand de l’Ecole franco-allemande Tigre (EFA) basée au Cannet-des-Maures dans le Var feront une démonstration dynamique commune, en patrouille.

 

Cette démonstration unique va montrer aux nombreux visiteurs un des multiples savoir-faire opérationnels enseignés au sein de l’EFA mais aussi rendre compte des performances et de l'agilité de ces appareils mises au profit direct de leur engagement au plus près du sol.

 

Au-delà de la prouesse technique réalisée par les équipages, les visiteurs pourront apprécier les capacités tactiques offertes au profit de la manœuvre aéroterrestre. Le vol simultané et la démonstration exceptionnelle de ces deux Tigres français et allemand à l’occasion de ce salon ont une portée symbolique très forte.

 

Les chefs d’état-major des armées de Terre française et allemande seront en visite au salon samedi 22 juin.

 

L’EFA fêtera le 1erjuillet 2013, ses 10 ans d’existence, l’année même des 50 ans du traité de l’Elysée, signé le 22 janvier 1963 par le chancelier Adenauer et le général De Gaulle. Traité d’amitié fixant les objectifs d’une coopération renforcée entre l’Allemagne et la France dans les domaines des relations internationales et de la défense, la création de l’EFA s’inscrit dans ce cadre.

 

Ainsi, cette démonstration binationale en vol prouve, à elle seule, la dimension internationale de l'école et toute la pertinence et l'efficacité d'une coopération franco-allemande réussie.

Tigre HAP (FR) Tigre KHS (DE) photo RP Defense

Tigre HAP (FR) Tigre KHS (DE) photo RP Defense

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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 12:50
L'école du Tigre (diaporama)

19/06/2013 Economie et technologie

 

L’Ecole franco-allemande (EFA) du Tigre est installée sur la base de l’école de l’aviation légère de l’armée de Terre (EALAT), au Cannet-des-Maures, près de Toulon. Depuis 2003, elle a pour mission la formation des équipages allemands et français sur l’hélicoptère de combat Tigre. Le soutien de la machine est également partagé entre la France et l’Allemagne.

 

L'école du Tigre (diaporama)

L'école du Tigre (diaporama)
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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 11:50
Salon du Bourget : L’Allemagne prête à recevoir son système MEADS

20.06.2013 Helen Chachaty - journal-aviation.com

 

A la suite d’une conférence donnée ce 19 juin concernant le système MEADS (Medium Extended Air Defence System), Walter Stammler, président du conseil d’administration de MEADS, a déclaré que l’Allemagne était tout à fait prête à recevoir son système de défense anti-aérienne de nouvelle génération : « L’Allemagne est prête à réceptionner le système MEADS, à l’adapter et à l’intégrer à l’ensemble de son système de défense aérienne ».

 

Pour Walter Stammler, le but est également d’intégrer MEADS au sein des systèmes de défense aérienne qui existent déjà – Mantis et Patriot entre autres – afin de créer un système global et plus efficace.

 

Concernant les délais, le président du conseil d’administration s’est montré plus réservé, évoquant deux obstacles majeurs : Les élections parlementaires qui doivent se tenir en septembre prochain et le scandale EuroHawk qui secoue actuellement la sphère politique et médiatique. « Le sujet principal en ce moment c’est l’EuroHawk, MEADS est pour l’instant passé en arrière-plan, je ne suis pas en mesure de donner de date précise pour le transport du système vers l’Allemagne », a précisé Walter Stammler, qui est tout de même convaincu que « ça ne durera pas des années ».

 

Il ajoute que le gouvernement allemand a tout intérêt à mettre en œuvre ce système, en raison des sommes engagées (autour d’un milliard d’euros), mais également parce qu’il « n’existe pas de pareil système au monde ».

 

Le système MEADS est composé de radars à 360°, de lanceurs transportables et de missiles. Il est destiné à contrer toute attaque de missiles balistiques, de missiles de croisière, de drones et d’avions. Walter Stammler précise que le système est aisément transportable par A400M, des manœuvres de « roll on » et de « roll off » ayant déjà été effectuées.

 

« Le système est prévu pour la défense intérieure mais également pour les théâtres d’opérations, c’est pour cela qu’il a été conçu pour être rapidement transporté et mis en œuvre. On pourrait tout à fait reproduire le schéma des Patriot en Turquie avec ce système, mais avec encore plus d’efficacité », conclut Walter Stammler.

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20 juin 2013 4 20 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
TAURUS KEPD 350

TAURUS KEPD 350

19 juin 2013 levif.be (Belga)

 

La Corée du Sud va acquérir des missiles de croisière Taurus, produits par l'Allemagne et la Suède, après le refus des Etats-Unis de lui vendre un armement correspondant, a annoncé mercredi l'agence sud-coréenne des achats militaires.

 

Au cours d'une réunion avec le ministre de la Défense Kim Kwan-Jin, l'Administration des programmes d'acquisition de la défense (DAPA) a approuvé un projet d'achat de missiles air-sol d'une portée de 500 kilomètres. L'amplitude de la commande et le budget nécessaires n'ont pas été confirmés mais selon l'agence de presse Yonhap, Séoul souhaiterait se porter acquéreur de 170 missiles d'une valeur totale de 300 millions de dollars (223 millions d'euros). Actuellement, l'Armée de l'air sud-coréenne ne possède que des SLAM-ER américains d'une portée de 278 kilomètres. La DAPA hésitait entre le Taurus et le Joint Air-to-Surface Standoff Missiles (JASSM) de l'américain Lockheed Martin. Mais le Pentagone n'a pas approuvé la vente de ces missiles d'une portée de 370 km, considérés comme une arme stratégique. "Dans un contexte de menaces croissantes de la Corée du Nord, nous devons acquérir (les missiles) au plus tôt. Mais l'acquisition du JASSM est devenue impossible compte tenu de la position du gouvernement américain", a justifié la DAPA. La Corée du Sud a lancé officiellement mardi l'appel d'offre pour un contrat de 7,3 milliards de dollars US portant sur la fourniture de 60 avions de combat, dernière étape d'un processus qui voit s'affronter trois géants de l'aéronautique de défense, deux américains et un européen. Boeing et Lockheed Martin, ainsi que l'européen EADS ont chacun présenté leur offre, assortie de conditions favorables destinées à remporter ce marché, le plus important jamais passé par la Corée du Sud.

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15 juin 2013 6 15 /06 /juin /2013 16:30
Chemical Weapons Charge: Berlin Rules out Arms for Rebels

June 14, 2013 spiegel.de

 

The United States has shifted its course on Syria following chemical weapons revelations, but international support is limited. Germany refuses to arm the insurgents, and Russia is openly critical of President Obama.

 

Washington has said it may soon move to supply weapons to Syrian rebels, a move that has been met with reserve by the international community. Western diplomats also told the news agency Reuters that the US government is considering a no-fly zone in Syria.

 

But despite reports that the regime of dictator Bashar Assad may have used chemical weapons, Germany says it has no plans to deliver arms to the rebels, a government spokesman said on Friday.

 

Steffen Seibert, spokesman for Chancellor Angela Merkel of the conservative Christian Democrats, said Germany would stick with its position of not providing weapons to a country engaged in a civil war for "legal reasons". The opposition had made the same demand. Meanwhile, a spokesperson for the German Foreign Ministry said it had no information of its own about the use of deadly poison gas by the regime in Damascus.

 

Although Germany doesn't intend to provide weapons aid, the country has been providing "non lethal support" since the beginning of June in the form of bullet-proof vests and first-aid kit deliveries to the Free Syrian Army.

 

On Thursday, the United States officially declared it has proof that Assad's forces used chemical weapons, based on blood, urine and hair samples from two rebel fighters. A White House spokesman said that the use of these weapons, including the nerve agent sarin, crosses the "red line" President Obama established early on in the conflict for determining the necessity of Western intervention in Syria's civil war.

 

Speaking in the Bundestag, Germany's federal parliament, on Friday, Foreign Minister Guido Westerwelle called for a meeting of the United Nations Security Council. "We take the indication of the deployment of chemical weapons very seriously," he said. "We are urging a consultation at the Security Council of the United Nations with the aim of coming to a common position." He also confirmed Germany would not deliver weapons to Syria, a line that Berlin has stuck to for some time now despite the expiration at the end of May of a European Union arms embargo against the country. German law prohibits weapons from the country's companies to be supplied to crisis zones.

 

Syria Describes Allegations as 'Caravan of Lies'

 

A representative of the Foreign Ministry in Damascus denied the allegations coming from Washington, saying the US statement on Thursday was a "caravan of lies" and that rebels had deployed the chemical weapons themselves.

 

Moscow also sharply criticized the claims. "I will say frankly that what was presented to us by the Americans does not look convincing," said Yuri Ushakov, foreign policy adviser to President Vladimir Putin. He warned that a US move to arm Syrian rebels would jeopardize joint efforts to convene a peace conference. Earlier, Alexei Pushkov, head of the Russian lower house of parliament's international affairs committee, wrote on Twitter: "Information about the usage of chemical weapons by Assad is fabricated in the same way as the lie about (Saddam) Hussein's weapons of mass destruction (in Iraq)."

 

In Britain, however, where preparations are underway for next week's G8 summit, the government is pleased that Obama now shares the government's position. Prime Minister David Cameron told the Guardian newspaper that Britain shares the "candid assessment" by the US. "I think it, rightly, puts back center stage the question, the very difficult question to answer but nonetheless one we have got to address: What are we going to do about the fact that in our world today there is a dictatorial and brutal leader who is using chemical weapons under our noses against his own people," he said.

 

'Urgent Discussions with International Partners'

 

The British position has been clear for months. Cameron was the first leader of a major country to speak publicly in favor of supplying arms to the Syrian rebels. On Wednesday, British Foreign Secretary William Hague met with US Secretary of State John Kerry in an effort to convince the US to take action. However, a decision on the weapons deliveries envisioned by Washington still hasn't been made in London. "We are in urgent discussions with our international partners," a spokesman for Cameron told reporters on Friday.

 

The delay may be the product of considerable resistance in the House of Commons, where there is opposition to arming the rebels. The House would have to approve any such move, and Cameron's opposition in the Labor Party are opposed. Even within his own liberal-conservative coalition, there are plenty who would prefer that Britain not get involved. "We in the UK do not have to follow the US," John Baron, a member of the foreign affairs committee told the BBC. "Good friends sometimes say to each other, look, you're making a mistake." He warned it could be an error of historic proportions and compared it to the disastrous outcome of arming the mujahedeen in Afghanistan and Saddam Hussein in Iraq.

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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 11:50
“Blue Force Tracking” Demonstration at EDA
Brussels | Jun 14, 2013 European Defence Agency
 

On 13 June, the European Defence Agency (EDA) invited representatives of Member States to attend a "Blue Force Tracking" demonstration of the EU Distributed Experimentation Laboratory (EU-DEL) concept. The experimentation linked ten different locations from three Member States (Germany, France and Italy) to EDA and provided a unique European virtual platform for debate, networking, and future planning.

 
EU-DEL is a tool to support information-sharing in the development of capabilities for EU crisis management operations. The objective is to improve information exchange on national experimentations, research facilities, industries and organisations to meet short- to long-term capability development goals. 
 

The Blue Force Tracking experiment is the first pilot case to demonstrate the concept of this affordable and distributed tool. The experiment, organised by the European Defence Agency and supported by the EU Military Staff, offers perspectives for an agile and dynamic approach to research and experimentation and stimulate further EU distributed projects. 

 

More information:
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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 11:50
Exercice de mise en situation opérationnelle du Tigre - Crédits SIRPA Terre ADC J-C Thorel

Exercice de mise en situation opérationnelle du Tigre - Crédits SIRPA Terre ADC J-C Thorel

13.06.2013 Par: Frédéric Lert

 

C’est officiel : la commission interministérielle de contrôle, qui regroupe tous les intervenants de la sécurité aérienne du salon du Bourget, vient de valider la présentation en vol quotidienne de deux Tigre pendant le salon qui débutera lundi prochain. On verra donc simultanément en vol dans le ciel du Bourget un appareil français et un allemand, les deux en provenance de l’école franco-allemande (EFA) du Cannet des Maures. Les deux appareils se livreront à une présentation combinée simulant un combat aérien.

Deux Tigre pour le prix d’un…

C’est une belle satisfaction pour l’Alat et l’EFA, cette dernière fêtant cette année son dixième anniversaire. S’il fallait un symbole de plus, on pourrait également rappeler que 2013 est l’année du cinquantenaire du traité d’amitié franco-allemand, dit « traité de l’Elysée »…

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14 juin 2013 5 14 /06 /juin /2013 07:35
SeaHake mod4 ER (Extended Range) heavyweight torpedo Photo ATLAS ELEKTRONIK

SeaHake mod4 ER (Extended Range) heavyweight torpedo Photo ATLAS ELEKTRONIK

Atlas Elektronik Sea Hake heavyweight torpedo

 

June 10, 2013 By SP's Special Correspondent

 

The Indian Navy is in the market for new heavyweight torpedoes with "state-of-the-art technology, of calibre 534.4mm and length not exceeding 7,800mm, to be fired from existing torpedo tubes of ships". The Navy has been looking to acquire new torpedoes for years, and the current acquisition will be in line with that.

 

The Navy is already on the verge of signing a deal for 98 Finmeccanica WASS Blackshark heavyweight torpedoes for its Scorpene submarines, a deal that appears now to be delayed by the entire Finmeccanica controversy that's already taken a toll on the AgustaWestland VVIP copter contract progress. The Indian Navy needs the new heavyweight torpedoes for its P28 class of anti-submarine warfare corvettes, the first of which is to be delivered to the Navy by the end of this year. The DRDO's own heavyweight torpedo Varunastra is undergoing trials at this time and is likely to be ready for integration on platforms only by 2016.

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12 juin 2013 3 12 /06 /juin /2013 12:50
Une partie de l’armée néerlandaise passe sous tutelle allemande

11 juin 2013 par: Romain Mielcarek - ActuDéfense

 

La 21ème brigade aéromobile néerlandaise va être directement intégrée à une unité binationale. Une perte d’autonomie conséquente pour les Pays-Bas qui créent ainsi un précédent historique en Europe.

 

Au cours d’un discours à Berlin, le 28 mai dernier, la ministre néerlandaise à la Défense s’est montrée parfaitement claire : «la coopération militaire n’est plus un choix, c’est une nécessité !». Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert annonçait alors un événement historique pour son pays : toute une partie de son armée va être directement fusionnée avec celle de l’Allemagne.

Ce partenariat, parfaitement inédit en Europe, va mixer au sein d’unités communes plusieurs pans de la défense des deux pays. La 21e brigade aéromobile néerlandaise, soit quelque 4 500 hommes, vont ainsi rejoindre à partir de 2014 une division binationale aux côtés de la Division de réaction rapide allemande (DSK). Les Pays-Bas fournissent ainsi leur contingent le plus opérationnel, accompagné de ses hélicoptères, tandis que les Allemands gardent d’autres unités capables de se déployer en toute autonomie.

Militaires allemands et néerlandais doivent de plus collectiviser leurs formations et certains choix d’équipements. Des experts militaires seront échangés entre Berlin et Amsterdam. Enfin, par la suite, d’autres unités devraient être mixées, comme la défense anti-aérienne ou la défense anti-missile ainsi que les forces sous-marines néerlandaises.

 

Rupture stratégique et perte de souveraineté

«C’est une vraie rupture, analyse Etienne de Durand, directeur de recherche à l’Institut français des relations internationales (IFRI). Les Néerlandais ont toujours été très atlantistes et donc interventionnistes, alors que les Allemands sont politiquement plus réservés à l’égard des interventions.» C’est effectivement une «mauvaise nouvelle pour les Américains», confirme Joseph Henrotin, rédacteur en chef du magazine Défense et Sécurité internationale.

Les instances de commandement de cette nouvelle division seront en effet basées en Allemagne. Les Néerlandais risquent de voir leurs choix politiques dans les domaines stratégiques soumis à la nécessité d’un aval allemand. «Il est facile de bien s’entendre tant qu’on ne va pas sur le terrain», remarque Joseph Henrotin. Ce fin observateur des armées à travers le monde remarque ainsi que les forces néerlandaises ont souvent été un vrai appui pour les Américains, au cours de leurs différentes interventions de l’Irak à l’Afghanistan. A l’inverse, les Allemands ont toujours fait en sorte de ne pas exposer leurs propres forces.

Cette division, dont l’objectif annoncé est de pouvoir secourir des ressortissants néerlandais et allemands n’importe où dans le monde, sera donc soumise à la décision politique des deux pays. Ce sont les fondements de la puissance néerlandaise qui risquent, à terme, d’être fondus dans la stratégie allemande. Dans le cas des sous-marins, «ces bâtiments ont par exemple été très utiles pour recueillir du renseignement au large de l’Iran ou pour lutter contre la piraterie en surveillant les ports du Golfe d’Aden», explique Joseph Henrotin. Autant de missions pour lesquelles les forces néerlandaises perdent leur autonomie de décision.

 

Pas forcément positif pour l’Europe de la Défense

Pour Jeanine Hennis-Plasschaert, ces inquiétudes sont sans fondement. «Devons-nous vraiment craindre une perte de souveraineté ?», interroge-elle dans son discours de Berlin. «Ou ne devrions-nous pas plutôt redéfinir ce concept ?» Si la ministre néerlandaise voit dans cette réforme une manière différente de défendre l’Europe, beaucoup s’inquiètent surtout de voir ici un effet pervers des réductions budgétaires.

«Cela ne traduit aucun plan, remarque ainsi Etienne de Durand. Personne n’est d’accord sur l’emploi de la force dans la gestion des crises internationales ou même sur les priorités stratégiques communes.» «C’est dans l’ère du temps, tout le monde réduit ses budgets de défense», constate également Joseph Henrotin. Pour ce dernier, d’autres pays pourraient suivre le mouvement. Reste à savoir à quelle logique stratégique et culturelle ils pourraient vouloir se rattacher. Tandis que les pays les plus à l’est s’inquiètent du réarmement russe, les Allemands défendent l’idée d’une sanctuarisation et d’un repli sur soi stratégique. Là-dedans, Français et Britanniques pourraient se retrouver bien seuls à tâcher tant bien que mal de défendre des capacités de projection.

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11 juin 2013 2 11 /06 /juin /2013 07:50
source sulekha

source sulekha

10-06-2013 Nouvel Observateur (Reuters)

 

BERLIN (Reuters) - Le ministre allemand de la Défense, Thomas de Maiziere, a admis des erreurs lundi dans sa gestion d'un projet d'acquisition de drones mais ce proche allié de la chancelière allemande Angela Merkel a exclu de démissionner.

 

Thomas de Maiziere est critiqué après l'abandon en mai d'un projet d'acquisition de quatre drones de reconnaissance lorsqu'il est devenu évident que leur mise aux normes serait trop coûteuse. À trois mois des élections législatives, l'opposition met en doute la sincérité du ministre dans ce dossier.

 

Lors d'une conférence de presse organisée à la hâte, le ministre de la Défense s'est défendu lundi d'avoir tenté de dissimuler l'état de ses connaissances. Il assure qu'on lui a toujours affirmé que les problèmes liés à ce contrat avec EADS et Northrop Grumman pouvaient être réglés.

 

"Rétrospectivement, je dois dire que lorsque l'on m'a parlé de 'problèmes qui pouvaient être réglés', je n'ai pas réagi assez vite. J'aurais dû poser des questions et réclamer un rapport sur l'étendue de ces problèmes et sur la manière dont ils seraient réglés", a dit Thomas de Maiziere

 

"Nous - cela me comprend moi en tant que ministre - n'avons pas rempli notre mission avec l'attention suffisante. Prendre la bonne décision (annuler le contrat, ndlr), après une procédure ayant mis au jour des failles, ne constitue en aucune manière un motif de démission. Au contraire, cela fournit l'occasion et la motivation pour éviter la répétition de tels problèmes."

 

Alexandra Hudson, Bertrand Boucey pour le service français, édité par Pascal Liétout

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9 juin 2013 7 09 /06 /juin /2013 12:50
A gunner from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment looks along the sights of a general purpose machine gun [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, UK MoD]

A gunner from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment looks along the sights of a general purpose machine gun [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, UK MoD]

7 June 2013 Ministry of Defence

 

Over 2,000 troops and 750 vehicles from 20th Armoured Brigade have been preparing for the scenarios likely to be faced in future conflicts.

 

Exercise Bavarian Charger is the first of 3 large exercises being undertaken by the brigade this summer, and is designed to prepare personnel for contingency operations post-Afghanistan.

Captain Strachan-Hayes from Headquarters 20th Armoured Brigade said:

This is the culmination of 4 or 5 months of training within the battle groups of the brigade where we have taken individual soldiers and built up their skills to platoon then company level.

We don’t know what contingency will look like; the future of operations might be very different so we have to look at a broad spectrum of capabilities.

This exercise has focused on the worst case scenario; how we might attack or defend against a force that is of parity, integrating the all arms concept with the aviation assets, and transitioning from offensive operations into security operations where we would be required to protect the local nationals and reassure the population.

A Challenger 2 main battle tank
A British Challenger 2 main battle tank live firing in Grafenwöhr, Germany [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]

The training was split into 3 phases starting with a demanding 2-week live firing package on the ranges of Grafenwöhr, which culminated in a series of attacks with the combined firepower of Challenger tanks, Warriors, Apache helicopters, infantry and artillery assets.

The brigade then travelled to Hohenfels, 100 kilometres further south. This move through open German countryside was designed to simulate the kind of challenges facing an armed force moving through a hostile environment. It also provided an opportunity to test the skills of 1 Logistic Support Regiment, who were co-ordinating the move.

The third phase took place in the heavily wooded and hilly terrain of the Hohenfels training area where the focus was on the planning and execution of operations at battle group and company level.

Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Rifles
Soldiers from 2nd Battalion The Rifles conduct house-clearing in a village [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]

The 5th Battalion The Rifles (5 RIFLES) and Queen’s Dragoon Guards Battle Groups were tested on tactics which involved sweeping across the battlefield in armoured vehicles before switching to peace support operations that required a more subtle and tempered approach.

For many of the Challenger crews from C Squadron of the Queen’s Royal Hussars this was the first time they had worked together on this kind of terrain and also the first time they had used their tanks in a counter-insurgency battle.

Besides the demanding pace of the exercise another challenge came in the form of the weather, with record rainfall over the 3 weeks causing severe flooding in south Germany and putting a dampener on morale, especially for the infantry troops of 5 RIFLES who were exposed to the unrelenting downpours during the digging-in phase.

Despite this, brigade personnel achieved some valuable training and had the chance to refresh their core skills having returned from Afghanistan in 2012.

Soldiers disembark a German CH-53G Stallion helicopter
Soldiers from the Queen's Dragoon Guards Battle Group disembark a German CH-53G Stallion helicopter [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
Soldiers build a 5-bay medium girder bridge
Soldiers from 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron build a 5-bay medium girder bridge for armoured vehicles to use [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
Soldiers from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment
A Javelin (anti-tank weapon) fire team from 1st Battalion The Princess of Wales's Royal Regiment [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
An Apache attack helicopter
A British Apache attack helicopter provides close air support for the troops on the ground [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
Armoured vehicles
Armoured vehicles arrive in Hohenfels from Grafenwöhr by cargo train [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
British Challenger 2 main battle tanks and Warrior armoured infantry fighting vehicles
A panoramic view of British Challenger 2 main battle tanks and Warrior infantry fighting vehicles on the live firing range at Grafenwöhr [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
A soldier from 5th Battalion The Rifles
A soldier from 5th Battalion The Rifles provides cover for his colleagues [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
A British Warrior armoured infantry fighting vehicle
A British Warrior infantry fighting vehicle patrolling across the live firing range in Grafenwöhr [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
A British Challenger 2 main battle tank
A British Challenger 2 main battle tank live firing in Grafenwöhr [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
A soldier from the Queen's Dragoon Guards Battle Group
A soldier from the Queen's Dragoon Guards Battle Group moves to a firing position [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
A soldier from the Queen's Dragoon Guards Battle Group
A soldier from the Queen's Dragoon Guards Battle Group on a foot patrol [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
Soldiers build a 5-bay medium girder bridge
Soldiers from 37 Armoured Engineer Squadron build a 5-bay medium girder bridge for armoured vehicles to use [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
AS90 self-propelled gun
An AS90 self-propelled gun from 26th Regiment Royal Artillery firing 155-millimetre shells [Picture: Corporal Wes Calder RLC, Crown copyright]
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8 juin 2013 6 08 /06 /juin /2013 11:50
BFA : mission d’assistance en Allemagne

07/06/2013 Sources : EMA

 

Depuis le 5 juin 2013, une soixantaine de militaires français de la brigade franco-allemande (BFA) opèrent en soutien des forces de sécurité civile allemandes afin d’apporter assistance et protection aux populations suite à d’importantes inondations en Allemagne.

 

Issus d’une section française du 110erégiment d’infanterie (110eRI) et d’un peloton de transport du bataillon franco-allemand de commandement et de soutien (BCS), les militaires français renforcent les moyens allemands de la BFA déjà déployés depuis le 3 juin.

BFA : mission d’assistance en Allemagne

Après avoir été déployés comme force d’intervention de réserve sur les rives fragilisées du Danube, les éléments de la BFA ont désormais rejoint les rives de l’Elbe, dans l’est de la Saxe, à la frontière tchèque, où le besoin était prioritaire.

 

La mission principale de la section d’infanterie française est de renforcer la digue en confectionnant des sacs de sable et d’ériger des barrières afin d’arrêter l’eau.

 

Le peloton de transport du BCS, parti de Müllheim le 6 juin dans la nuit, s’est quant à lui chargé de livrer près de 850 lits en Bavière, dans la région de Passau, avant de rejoindre le détachement à Pülswerda. Déployé avec une trentaine de soldats, le peloton devrait alors participer au chargement et à la livraison du sable sur les zones à risques de l’Elbe.

BFA : mission d’assistance en Allemagne
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7 juin 2013 5 07 /06 /juin /2013 16:50
L’Armée suisse s’entraîne à surmonter un incident en collaboration avec l’Allemagne et l’Autriche

Berne, 07.06.2013 - news.admin.ch

 

L’exercice « ALPENDREIECK » permet aux troupes sanitaires de trois armées de s’exercer à la collaboration à Kempten (DEU). L’accent est principalement mis sur le personnel, le matériel et les processus engagés. L’Armée suisse prend part à l’exercice qui se déroule du 3 au 14 juin 2013 en engageant 41 spécialistes et trois systèmes.

 

Pour la première fois, les trois domaines sanitaires des armées allemande, autrichienne et suisse ont l'occasion de tester en direct la compatibilité de leurs organisations en matière de gestion de blessés et de soins chirurgicaux d'urgence dans un centre de secours. L'exercice « Alpendreieck » est dirigé par le service sanitaire central de la Bundeswehr allemande.

L'Armée suisse y participe avec 41 personnes, parmi lesquelles se trouvent des médecins, des soldats sanitaires, des chauffeurs et du personnel professionnel militaire. Au niveau du matériel, il est prévu qu'un poste de secours sanitaire (ESM 2), des véhicules sanitaires légers, des chars sanitaires et le gestionnaire de poste de secours sanitaire avec le stylo numérique destiné à la gestion des données des patients soient engagés.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 16:50
Embattled German Minister Defends EuroHawk Decision

June 6, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: German Ministry of Defence; issued June 5, 2013)

(Issued in German only; unofficial translation by defense-aerospace.com)

 

Ministerial Statement on Euro Hawk Development Project to the Defence Committee

 


BERLIN --- This is the statement issued today by Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière regarding the Euro Hawk Armor project following the Defence Committee on 5 June 2013:

Ladies and gentlemen,

Today I have submitted to the Defence Committee the report of the Ad Hoc Working Group on the Euro Hawk process. I have also presented my personal evaluation, and announced the consequences.

My evaluation of this process is as follows: The decision to continue to use this aircraft for training purposes until the end of September 2013, and at the same time not to procure production aircraft, as originally intended, is correct.

Also, this decision is not too late. Its timing is appropriate as it has prevented greater damage, and not increased it. Had the decision has been made earlier, it would not have been possible to benefit from the investment for training purposes. Therefore, the timing of the decision was also correct.

Nonetheless, the method had significant shortcomings. From the beginning, there was a design flaw at birth because of the different expectations on the American and the German sides. It began in 2002, 2004 to 2007, and in the following years.

Project management, that is the control process over the course of this project, was flawed and did not function, and my involvement was inadequate. The decision had been finally made at ministerial level. I then subsequently approved it.

This is not acceptable. Such a decision should have been made by myself.

For the future, among other consequences, we will change project management and we will organize the approval processes differently, while the participation of the Minister looks quite different.

Namely, I will regularly receive status reports on all major defense projects, not with “good weather” returns, but with detailed reporting of any problems and of proposed solutions.

We will then submit a report to the Defense and Budget Committees, so we can inform you of any problems at a time when corrective action is still possible.

I am reserving judgment on personnel consequences at the present time. These will depend on what results will be reported by the detailed review, namely in regarding management errors and such. I will then decide on appropriate actions, and they will be announced during a press conference.


Click here for the Ad Hoc Working Group report (85 PDF pages, German only).


Click here for the Minister’s report to the Defence Committee (13 PDF pages, in German only).

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 16:50
De Maiziere Fails to Clarify Drone Debate, Expert Says

June 6, 2013 defense-aerospace.com

(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio; published June 5, 2013)

 

German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere claimed he was informed too late about the failed Euro Hawk drone project. Political scientist Christian Hacke tells DW why the minister's resignation may be appropriate.

 

 

DW: There has been considerable pressure on the defense minister in recent weeks for not having stopped the drone program sooner. He's testified before a parliamentary committee that he had hardly been involved in the project and was only later informed about the cancellation. Do you find this statement surprising?

 

Christian Hacke: Yes, I find the statement tremendously surprising. Since this debacle has gone public, de Maiziere has indicated that such glitches could occur. But he didn't say that this should be considered standard. What he said was that with such large projects over such long time periods, one could pretty much count on problems. I already found that to be playing down reality.

 

But now he's made a 180-degree turn in saying that he had no idea, implying that he considers the whole process to have been problematic. That's a skewed argument. Whether or not this is actually the case, both situations would be equally bad. At this point the question has to be asked if he's got a handle on his ministry at all. The situation for him has by no means improved.

 

DW: How can a minister involved in projects of such magnitude not be better informed, and how can deputy ministers be in a position to cancel the Euro Hawk project practically on their own?

 

Christian Hacke: This project has been running for some time now, de Maiziere's predecessors had already dealt with it. But with regard to projects of this magnitude, I cannot see how deputies could make such decisions by themselves, without involving the head of the ministry. If that was really the case, with deputy ministers allowed to do whatever they pleased, then de Maiziere didn't have the department under his control.

 

DW: Do you believe this is a failure on the part of de Maiziere's? Should he have actively sought out more information?

 

Christian Hacke: I've had a certain understanding for his position, in the sense that he does not find out about everything, or does not find out in a timely manner. But now that he's made a point of describing how the ministerial deputies went around him to cancel the project without his approval - I find that very vexing. He should really take responsibility. That's the case if he did know beforehand, which he now denies, as well as if while he is running a ministry and decisions get made without him.

 

DW: De Maiziere has ruled out resigning, but is reserving the option of personnel consequences in the ministry. Do you think it would be fair if he lets go his deputies?

 

Christian Hacke: Indeed, the question is whether the opposition and his own party would be satisfied with this. They may say that people are just being sacrificed here. I cannot judge the competency of the ministerial deputies. I also don't know if maybe they are in some kind of bureaucratic fight with the minister. But to be honest, one can't rule out the consequence that demands for de Maiziere's resignation will become louder.

 

DW: Are the explanations that de Maiziere provided adequate? What still remains to be clarified, in your opinion?

 

Christian Hacke: Until now, merely the technical, bureaucratic and financial aspects of this affair have been discussed. Which is important, and correct. But beyond that, there are so many other important questions that have not been addressed at all. What are the effects of the Euro Hawk on Germany's national security? Do drones fit into our defense strategy? And the ethical questions, summarized by the idea of death by joystick: Who is allowed to kill, and who will be killed? Not to mention the global dimension: How do these drones contribute to an arms race? At this point the West has a monopoly on drones, but that doesn't mean that authoritarian states won't someday also have drones.

 

All of these topics have been completely left out, and also received short shrift in de Maiziere's appearance before the parliamentary committee. That's why I say that the debate taking place for years in Berlin has been provincial, and the minister has in no way brought clarity to these issues.

 

 

Christian Hacke is professor emeritus at the Institute for Political Science and Sociology at the University of Bonn.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 15:55
Mission franco-allemande de déminage - photo Marine Nationale

Mission franco-allemande de déminage - photo Marine Nationale

06/06/2013 Marine Nationale

 

Depuis le 23 mai 2013, les chasseurs de mines français L’Aigle et allemand Sulzbach Rosenberg ainsi que le bâtiment base de plongeurs démineurs (BBPD) Vulcain ont mené une opération conjointe de recherche et de destruction d’engins explosifs historiques, au large de la Seine-Maritime et de la baie de Somme.

 

Dans une zone bien connue des chasseurs de mines et des plongeurs démineurs de la Marine nationale, les deux chasseurs de mines français et allemand ont exploré les fonds marins pendant plus d’une semaine, sous la coordination du Centre opérationnel de la Marine de Cherbourg où se trouvait également un officier allemand. Huit mines allemandes de la Seconde Guerre mondiale ont été découvertes.

photo Marine Nationale

photo Marine Nationale

Dans une deuxième phase, les marins allemands et français ont détruit cinq de ces mines. Les trois restantes, situées à proximité d’un câble de télécommunication, ont été déplacées. Elles devraient être détruites dans les jours à venir par le tandem franco-allemand composé du Vulcain et du Sulzbach Rosenberg. Les cinq engins détruits représentaient l’équivalent de 4,5 tonnes de TNT.

photo Marine Nationale

photo Marine Nationale

Outre le symbole fort d’une coopération franco-allemande, cette opération a participé à l’important effort d’assainissement des fonds marins et de sécurisation des activités maritimes (dont la pêche), qui est fourni tout au long de l’année par la Marine nationale.

photo Laurent Lecanu - Marine Nationale

photo Laurent Lecanu - Marine Nationale

La France et l'Allemagne célèbrent cette année le 50ème anniversaire du traité de l'Élysée, socle à la fois politique, juridique et symbolique du partenariat franco-allemand. Dans le domaine naval, elles entretiennent des relations privilégiées et une coopération multiforme qui s'exprime à travers des échanges entre officiers, le programme EFENA (échanges entre les écoles navales) ou encore des entraînements ou opérations conjointes. La guerre des mines est un des domaines privilégiés de cette coopération.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 07:50
Euro Hawk décollage de la BA De de Manching 11.01.2013 photo EADS - Cassidian

Euro Hawk décollage de la BA De de Manching 11.01.2013 photo EADS - Cassidian

June 5, 2013 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: Deutsche Welle German radio; issued June 4, 2013)

 

The Euro Hawk Scandal: A Chronicle

 

Development of the Euro Hawk drone cost hundreds of millions of euros. Despite early indications of problems, Defense Minister Thomas de Maizière held on to the project. DW chronicles the Euro Hawk's short life.

 

 

The government coalition of Social Democrats and Greens laid the foundation for the development of a surveillance drone as early as 2001. Five defense ministers came and went during the planning and trial process of the Euro Hawk unmanned aircraft. Warnings of flight permit problems came early. Here's what happened between the project's start in 2001 and its sudden end in 2013.

 

2001

As a member of the SPD/Greens coalition government, Defense Minister Rudolf Scharping (SPD) planned the commission of a surveillance drone that would fly at a height of 20 kilometers (12 miles) and registers radio and radar signals with the help of modern technology. US defense technology company Northrop Grumman was to be tasked with production, while European aviation firm EADS was to develop the surveillance technology. That was as far as plans went.

 

2003

During Peter Struck's (SPD) term as defense minister, America's Global Hawk performed its first test flights in German air space. That drone served as the prototype for the "Euro Hawk." The six successful flights laid the foundation for cooperation between the companies involved and the German defense ministry that followed.

 

2004

The Bundeswehr asked EADS and Northrop Grumman to present an offer for the development, production and delivery of a Euro Hawk.

 

Then came the first words of caution. An EADS employee warned that an anti-collision system was necessary, particularly during departure and landing. On other occasions, similar warnings came from air traffic controllers, the private sector and the German military itself.

 

2005

In November, EADS and Northrop Grumman founded the 'Euro Hawk GmbH' corporation. In December, they presented their bid. Public announcements about the project appear not to have been made.

 

Looking back, Franz Josef Jung (CDU), the defense minister at that time, recently told the German weekly "Bild am Sonntag" that the contract included an automatic anti-collision system and a "recourse clause."

 

2007

The budget committee in Germany's lower house of parliament approved the program in late January 2007. The defense ministry signed a 430-million-euro ($560-million) contract with the Euro Hawk GmbH corporation for the drone project.

 

2009

According to current reports in "Spiegel" magazine, German military inspectors pointed out potential flight permit issues in summer 2009. They criticized the manufacturer for not providing any approved construction documents that would have facilitated the obtaining of those permits. It also remains unclear whether members of the German army were even authorized to issue flight permits for the drone.

 

But under pressure from the defense ministry, with Karl-Theodor zu Guttenberg (CSU) as minister, a military inspector eventually carried out the necessary tests allowing for a temporary permission of flight.

 

2010

In June, the Euro Hawk took off for the first time. It flew from the Northrop Grumman plant in Palmdale, California to the Edwards Air Force Base in the same state. The flight lasted two hours.

 

2011

On July 20, the aircraft embarked on its way to Germany and landed on Manching air field near Ingolstadt after 22 hours in the air.

 

Officially, this was seen as a success and hailed as the beginning of a new era of surveillance. At the time, the drone had a temporary traffic permit and could only take off and land in restricted air space.

 

There were reports that contact was temporarily lost with the drone during the flight and that it had deviated from its programmed route. US security authorities had denied overflight permission for the Euro Hawk within the United States.

 

Toward the end of 2011, the German defense ministry under current minister Thomas de Maizière (CDU) discovered that flight permits would cost an additional 500 to 600 million euros.

 

2012

In early 2013, the drone flew for six hours over Germany, marking another test flight that was viewed as a success.

 

But Defense Minister de Maizière stopped the drone project in May because of massive problems in obtaining flight permits for European airspace. Construction documents were missing for some 120 Euro Hawk components. Amid growing criticism, de Maizière also announced his ministry's decision to deliver sensitive Euro Hawk documents uncensored to Germany's Federal Court of Auditors.

 

A short while later, Northrop Grumman and EADS issued a joint statement contradicting the defense ministry. "Media reports that indicate there are challenges with the aircraft's flight control system, as well as excessive costs associated with completing airworthiness certification, are inaccurate," they said.

 

The full Euro Hawk system, the companies added, performed flawlessly and safely throughout the entire flight test program.

 

The defense ministry grounded its decision to suddenly the Euro Hawk program on the expected additional costs of up to 600 million euros.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 06:50
Merkel Ally Admits Mistakes In German Drone Scandal

Jun. 5, 2013 Defense News (AFP)

 

BERLIN — German Defense Minister Thomas de Maiziere on Wednesday admitted missteps by his staff in connection with an election-year scandal over a scrapped spy drone deal, but insisted he had no plans to step down.

 

With less than four months to go until the national poll, De Maiziere, one of Chancellor Angela Merkel’s closest allies, said he had made the right decision to pull the plug on the so-called Euro Hawk project last month.

 

But he acknowledged that he had been kept in the dark for too long on problems with the unmanned surveillance aircraft program, which had already swallowed more than €500 million euros (US $654 million) before he axed it.

 

“I regret that,” he told reporters.

 

“I should have organized my ministry in this area so that I as the minister would be involved in decisions with this kind of scope.”

 

Officials feared aviation authorities would not certify the Euro Hawk — a version of US-based Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk customized by Europe’s EADS — because it lacks an anti-collision system.

 

The ministry decided the cost of adding such a system was too high, in what German media have dubbed the “drone debacle.”

 

But asked whether he would resign as a result, De Maiziere said the main consequence of the affair would be an overhaul of his ministry to ensure quicker whistle-blowing.

 

Merkel’s spokesman told a regular briefing that the minister still enjoyed her “full confidence.”

 

De Maiziere presented a report on the scandal to parliament’s defense committee earlier Wednesday in which he said he will commission regular status reports on major acquisitions and development projects.

 

“We have got to encourage people to step forward and call attention to problems, not just tell us what they think we want to hear,” he said.

 

But he dismissed a key allegation of the center-left opposition, which has stepped up attacks on him as the election campaign gets into full swing — that he wasted taxpayers’ money with a tardy decision.

 

“The delay did not incur financial damages but rather avoided them,” he said, arguing that it was clear only at a late stage of development that the project would not be worth the expense.

 

But a poll of voter confidence for Stern magazine showed that De Maiziere, long one of Germany’s most popular politicians, had tumbled six points since the last survey in February to 45 points out of 100.

 

Viewed as a safe pair of hands with a particular talent for organization and administration, De Maiziere had figured on the short list of possible candidates to eventually take the reins from Merkel.

 

But the drone scandal has largely silenced such talk.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 06:50
EuroHawk: Implications for Germany and NATO

June 5, 2013 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: International Relations and Security Network; issued June 3, 2013)

 

The End of the German Euro Hawk Programme – The Implications for Germany and NATO

 

Germany’s decision to cancel its purchase of Euro Hawk UAVs has turned into a major political scandal for the Merkel government. Justyna Gotkowska warns that it may also have serious consequences for NATO’s Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS) program.

 

 

On 14 May, the German Ministry of Defence announced it would be withdrawing from the planned purchased of the Euro Hawk unmanned aerial vehicles. The reasons given for this were the difficulties and high costs of introducing the system to general air traffic in Germany and Europe.

 

Germany abandoning one of its largest armament programmes has turned into an unprecedented scandal over the procurement of armament and military equipment in Germany. This concerns both the costs incurred (between 600 and 800 million euros) and the manner in which the programme was being run by the Ministry of Defence. The opposition is capitalising on this scandal in the run up to the election to the Bundestag scheduled for September 2013. Dismissals at the German Ministry of Defence should not be ruled out, either.

 

The scandal may also have adverse consequences for one of NATO’s most important programmes, Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS). This may lead to further delays in the implementation of the programme and an increase in costs resulting from the adjustment of the commissioned system to new European regulations.

 

The German Euro Hawk programme

 

Euro Hawk was one of Germany’s largest armament programmes over the past few years and was one of the flagships of German-US armament co-operation programmes. As part of this programme, whose estimated cost was approximately 1.3 billion euros, Germany was to buy five unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs). Euro Hawk was to be used for signals intelligence (SIGINT). As an unmanned HALE (high altitude long-endurance) system it was supposed to be able to carry out surveillance missions over large spaces at a flight level of up to 18 km (above commercial aircraft flights) and with a flight duration of up to approximately 30 hours. The Euro Hawk programme was initiated in 2001 by the SPD/Green Party government. The contract for the development of the Euro Hawk system was signed in 2007 by the CDU/CSU/SPD government, Germany received the prototype in July 2011 during the present CDU/CSU/FDP coalition.

 

The construction of the Euro Hawk is based on the Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 20 produced by the US company Northrop Grumman. The Euro/Global Hawk (length: 14.5 m, wingspan: 40 m) is currently among the world’s largest military UAVs. The construction of the Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 20 was adjusted to meet the German needs. The UAV was equipped with SIGINT sensors manufactured by Germany’s Cassidian, part of EADS company. The costs of the prototype, including SIGINT sensors, and of testing it since July 2011 and the costs of adjusting the Jagel military airbase probably reached between 600 and 800 million euros (according to some estimates, this figure reached 1 billion euros).

 

In mid-May this year, the German Ministry of Defence announced it would be entirely withdrawing from the Euro Hawk programme, i.e. the purchase of the remaining four UAVs and the operational use of the prototype. The reasons given for this decision included great difficulties and enormous additional costs (500–600 million euros) linked to the procedure of admitting the UAV for use in German general airspace outside the segregated airspace (i.e. strictly defined areas). This will be necessary if this kind of UAV is to be used in Germany (and in Europe) due to the fact that German (and European) airspace is used intensely.

 

According to information from the German MoD, the problems concerned lacks in the technical documentation provided by the US company. The press reported that there were probably also some technical problems with the prototype, namely problems maintaining contact between the UAV and the ground control station, as well as Northrop Grumman’s unwillingness to provide sensitive technical data and the lack of an automatic anti-collision system.

 

The end of the Euro Hawk programme - the consequences for Germany

 

The winding up of the Euro Hawk programme due to difficulties with admitting its use in general air traffic has provoked one of the biggest scandals of the past few years in the field of armament and military equipment procurement in Germany. The costs incurred and the procedures applied and also the manner in which the programme had been organised by the German Ministry of Defence have caused outrage among the general public.

 

Firstly, the ministry paid a huge price for the construction of a prototype, probably without having reserved the right to recoup at least part of the money, due to the provisions of the contract signed with the Euro Hawk consortium (formed by Northrop Grumman and Cassidian). Furthermore, given its desire to use the SIGINT sensors, which were developed for the Euro Hawk system, the ministry must buy new platforms (most likely, manned aircraft).

 

Secondly, information on possible problems with Euro Hawk being admitted to use in the general airspace was probably available already before the contract concerning the prototype development was signed, and at least since 2011. Nevertheless, this did not lead either to the programme being interrupted or to the contract with the consortium being amended.

 

Thirdly, due to the contract provisions which guaranteed Northrop Grumman the right to refuse to disclose information to any third parties, the Ministry of Defence restricted the Bundesrechnungshof (the Federal Court of Auditors) access to part of the programme’s documentation. It thus prevented a financial audit of the programme, which is contrary to German law.

 

Although all German governments since 2001 have been involved in the development of the programme, starting with the SPD/Green Party coalition, the responsibility for the scandal over the Euro Hawk programme is pinned primarily on the present defence minister, Thomas de Maiziere (CDU). Until recently, he had the reputation of being one of the best ministers in Chancellor Angela Merkel’s cabinet. The opposition has been capitalising on this issue in their campaign ahead of the election to the Bundestag. Dismissals at the Ministry of Defence cannot be ruled out, either.

 

The consequences for NATO’s AGS programme

 

Germany’s withdrawal from the Euro Hawk programme due to problems with UAVs being admitted to general air traffic may also have implications for NATO and one of its most important programmes, Alliance Ground Surveillance (AGS).

 

The goal of the AGS programme is to enable NATO to conduct airborne surveillance operations, such as detecting and tracking stationary and moving objects in real time in any weather conditions. The AGS system will consists of five Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 40 and ground control station based in Sicily, Italy. According to the schedule, the system will achieve operational capability in 2015–2017. Fourteen countries, including Germany participate in the AGS programme, the estimated cost of which is 1.3 billion euros (Poland is planning to re-join it). The German contribution is 483 million euros. Germany also planned (no contracts have been signed as yet) to buy an additional four Global Hawk RQ-4B Block 40 with similar capabilities to NATO’s AGS.

 

After the cancellation of the Euro Hawk programme questions have appeared in discussions in Germany as to the possible problems Global Hawk system could have with gaining access to general airspace in Italy (certification of NATO’s Global Hawks) and in Germany (certification of the German Global Hawks). Furthermore, no uniform European legal regulations exist concerning the use of military UAVs in European general airspace. The first steps have been taken in this direction. So far, there is only one document which provides non-binding guidelines from the EUROCONTROL organisation which defines the minimum requirements, rules and criteria for flights of UAVs, including the Global Hawk system. Pursuant to this document, they should meet the same safety criteria as those applicable to manned aircraft.

 

As a consequence of the Euro Hawk scandal, those German politicians who deal with military issues – from the opposition (the SPD and the Green Party) and the government coalition (the FDP and even CDU) alike, are insisting that funding be withdrawn from all programmes involving UAVs. This concerns both the German contribution to the AGS programme and the German MoD’s plans to buy a further four Global Hawks.

 

Firstly, until it becomes clear whether the UAVs will be admitted to use in general airspace in Germany. Secondly, until European regulations concerning the use of UAVs in general airspace in Europe are introduced.

 

If the current or future German government backs these demands, this may spell a further delay in the process to achieve operational capability for NATO’s AGS system and perhaps also an increase in the costs due to the possible need to adjust the system to new European regulations.

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6 juin 2013 4 06 /06 /juin /2013 06:50
Des drones inutilisables vont-ils faire sauter le ministre allemand de la défense?

05/06/2013 Thomas Schnee – L’Expansion

 

Le ministère allemand de la défense a mis 6 ans pour réaliser que des drones achetés aux Etats-Unis n'auraient pas le droit de voler en Europe. Un scandale à 550 million d'euros. Thomas de Maizière, le ministre préféré d'Angela Merkel, essaye de sauver sa tête.

 

Achèteriez-vous une voiture si on vous explique qu'elle ne pourra être homologuée pour circuler sur les routes? Certainement pas. C'est pourtant ce qu'a fait le ministère allemand de la Défense en signant, en 2007, un contrat avec le constructeur américain Northrop Grumman. Dans ce contrat d'un montant évalué à 1,3 milliard d'euros, Northrop s'est engagé à livrer 5 drones de type Global Hawk, le plus gros de tous les drones de surveillance jamais construit.

 

Une perte sèche de 550 millions d'euros

Le premier appareil-test, rebaptisé Euro Hawk, a atterri en Allemagne l'été dernier pour y subir diverses modifications, comme sa mise aux normes européennes ou l'installation d'un système de surveillance mis au point par EADS. A cette date, l'Allemagne a déjà déboursé plusieurs centaines de millions d'euros pour ce programme d'armement. Mais quelques mois plus tard, c'est le coup de théâtre: le ministre fait savoir que les coûts de certification étant trop élevés (600 millions d'euros), l'Allemagne se désengage du programme. Pour le budget de la défense, la perte sèche est de 550 millions d'euros ! Une somme qui permettrait de créer près de 50 000 places de crèches, fait ironiquement remarquer le magazine Der Spiegel.

Pour la chancelière Angela Merkel, l'affaire tombe mal. Elle implique directement le ministre de la Défense Thomas de Maizière, son plus fidèle collaborateur et successeur potentiel. Elle éclate aussi 4 mois avant les élections législatives, alors même que la Chancelière est en pleine campagne électorale et fait tout pour convaincre les Allemands qu'avec elle, leur argent est bien gardé. Depuis l'annonce du ministre, le 14 mai dernier, le "scandale Euro Hawk" occupe en effet plus la une des journaux allemands. Outre-Rhin, tout le monde se demande évidemment pourquoi le bataillon d'experts de la Luftwaffe et du ministère n'a pas prévu ce scénario, ce qui aurait permis d'arrêter les frais beaucoup plutôt.

 

Le ministre charge ses secrétaires d'Etat

C'est donc pour répondre à cette question et justifier tant l'attitude de ses services que la sienne que Thomas de Maizière a promis de tout dire en ce mercredi 5 juin. Et c'est un ministre fatigué mais décidé qui est apparu devant la presse à la mi-journée, entre deux auditions parlementaires. La ligne de défense qu'il a adoptée se résume brièvement : il ne savait rien. Il est donc responsable mais pas coupable ! M. de Maizière a ainsi expliqué que ses deux secrétaires d'Etat Rüdiger Wolf et Stéphane Beemelmans ne l'avaient jamais informé de la gravité des problèmes du dossier Euro Hawk. Et ce n'est qu'en mai 2013 qu'il aurait découvert le pot aux roses.

Ce choix tactique, qui implique que l'un ou l'autre secrétaire d'Etat pourrait bientôt jouer le rôle de fusible, montre que M. de Maizière n'a pas abandonné l'espoir de conserver son maroquin ministériel. Mais le rapport que la Cour fédérale des comptes a également décidé de publier aujourd'hui enfonce le clou. A la décharge du ministre, les contrôleurs fédéraux rappelle qu'il est entré en fonction en mars 2011. Il n'est donc ni l'auteur, ni le seul responsable de cette gabegie. Pourtant, à cette date, les graves problèmes liés à la certification ont déjà été signalés à maintes reprises par les experts de la Luftwaffe.

Malgré cela, les services ministériels ont continué à " pousser " le dossier comme si de rien n'était, explique le rapport qui considère qu'une intervention plus précoce aurait pu avoir lieu. Surtout, la Cour fédérale des comptes dépeint les lenteurs, pesanteurs et aberrations du fonctionnement d'une administration ministérielle et militaire qui a pourtant récemment fait l'objet d'une grande réforme, cette fois-ci sous l'entière responsabilité de ... Thomas de Maizière qui va avoir bien du mal à sortir indemne du scandale Euro Hawk.

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5 juin 2013 3 05 /06 /juin /2013 12:50
Euro Hawk décollage de la BA De de Manching 11.01.2013 photo EADS - Cassidian

Euro Hawk décollage de la BA De de Manching 11.01.2013 photo EADS - Cassidian

4 juin 2013 Hanna Klimpe - Courrier international

 

La presse allemande spécule sur le sort du ministre de la Défense, Thomas de Maizière, qui doit être entendu ce mardi 4 juin par l'Otan et mercredi 5 juin par le Bundestag à propos de l'affaire Euro Hawk, le programme d'achat de drones défaillants.

 

"Je souffre de la pression que je dois supporter", telle est l'information la plus précise que la presse a reçue jusque-là du ministre de la Défense, Thomas de Maizière, à propos de l'affaire Euro Hawk [drone de reconnaissance non armé]. Il s'agit de l'achat de drones inutilisables, car défaillants. Une affaire qui a coûté des centaines de millions d'euros au pays.

Cette semaine, le ministre de la Défense doit s'expliquer : le mardi 4 juin auprès de l'OTAN, à Bruxelles ; le mercredi 5 juin auprès du Bundestag. Ce sera "La semaine de la vérité pour Thomas de Maizière", titre Die Welt.

Cependant, la presse rapporte chaque jour de nouveaux éléments. Les derniers venant du Spiegel, qui a consacré sa une à l'affaire : "D'après les recherches du Spiegel, la direction du ministère de la Défense était informée de la dimension des problèmes avec le projet des drones Euro Hawk [...]. Mais ce n'est que quinze mois plus tard que le ministre a arrêté ce programme."

Pour la Süddeutsche Zeitung, ce scandale concerne les dysfonctionnements de l'administration. "Thomas de Maizière a un problème massif dont les dimensions énormes auraient pu être évitées si on s'était intéressé un peu plus aux détails dans son ministère", note Christoph Hickmann dans un article intitulé "La misère".

Déjà des voix s'élèvent pour exiger des sanctions personnelles, allant jusqu'à la démission du ministre. "L'opposition veut soumettre Maizière à un feu croisé de questions", titre ZEIT Online. "Le sacrifice d'un pion ne suffira pas", écrit l'hebdomadaire, en citant le chef du groupe parlementaire social-démocrate [SPD, opposition], Thomas Oppermann. La chancelière Angela Merkel a jusque-là évité de prendre position. "Le ministre de la Défense a annoncé pour cette semaine un exposé détaillé sur le projet depuis son commencement il y a dix ans. Je ne préjugerai pas avant de l'avoir entendu", a-t-elle souligné.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 18:50
Euro Hawk décollage de la BA De de Manching 11.01.2013 photo EADS - Cassidian

Euro Hawk décollage de la BA De de Manching 11.01.2013 photo EADS - Cassidian

Jun. 3, 2013 – By DEBORAH COLE (AFP) - Defense News

 

BERLIN — A simmering election-year scandal around German Chancellor Angela Merkel’s defense minister over a botched drone deal threatens to boil over this week when he testifies before lawmakers.

 

The minister, Thomas de Maiziere, is a close confidant of Merkel’s from her conservative Christian Democratic Union and had often been mentioned as a possible successor to the 58-year-old leader.

 

But with less than four months to go until a September general election, De Maiziere, 59, has become entangled in allegations he mismanaged a now-scrapped unmanned surveillance aircraft project with costly consequences.

 

The Euro Hawk program had already swallowed more than €500 million (US $651 million) before the defense ministry said on May 14 it would pull the plug.

 

Officials feared aviation authorities would not certify the Euro Hawk — a version of US-based Northrop Grumman’s Global Hawk customized by Europe’s EADS — because it lacks an anti-collision system.

 

The ministry deemed the cost of adding such a system prohibitive.

 

De Maiziere, who has been attacked for failing to act far earlier, is due on Wednesday to present a report to parliament’s defense committee on what the media have dubbed the “drone debacle.”

 

He has been at Merkel’s side since she took power in 2005, serving during her first term as her chief of staff before taking over the defense brief after her re-election in 2009.

 

Long viewed as a safe pair of hands with a particular talent for organization and administration, De Maiziere had figured on the short list of possible candidates to eventually take over the reins from Merkel.

 

Commentators said that speculation now looks to be quashed.

 

“De Maiziere could have become chancellor one day but since the drones crisis, no one is talking about that possibility anymore,” the center-left daily Sueddeutsche Zeitung wrote Monday.

 

“The question is simply how De Maiziere will handle his mistakes and whether he can keep his job.”

 

The wasted funds come at a time in which Merkel has been preaching fiscal discipline throughout the eurozone as a means to check the spiralling debt crisis.

 

De Maiziere will face deputies just days after news weekly Der Spiegel reported that senior defense ministry officials were aware as early as February 2012 about the concerns that led to the program’s cancellation last month.

 

Opposition leaders, who have been struggling to score points during the election campaign against the popular Merkel, leapt on the report.

 

The head of the Social Democrats, Sigmar Gabriel, called De Maiziere’s long silence on the affair “unworthy” of his office, while Greens’ parliamentary group chief Juergen Trittin threatened a formal probe.

 

Last month, Merkel’s spokesman insisted that De Maiziere had her “full confidence.”

 

But in an interview with Der Spiegel published Saturday, Merkel appeared reticent on his crisis management.

 

“The defense minister said he would present a comprehensive report this week about the project from its beginnings more than 10 years ago,” she said when asked about his future in the cabinet.

 

“I do not wish to preempt that.”

 

De Maiziere had already run into trouble in February when he criticized German soldiers in Afghanistan who complained about a lack of public acknowledgement for their service, saying they appeared to be “addicted” to praise.

 

After a massive uproar, he said he regretted if his remarks had caused offense.

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3 juin 2013 1 03 /06 /juin /2013 17:20
Canada picks ThyssenKrupp ship design

OTTAWA, June 3 (UPI)

 

A design by ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada for Royal Canadian Navy support ships has been selected by the Canadian government.

 

The Joint Support Ships, part of the National Shipbuilding Procurement Strategy, will supply fuel, ammunition, spare parts, food and water to deployed Navy Groups and also provide a home base for maintenance and operation of helicopters.

 

"The selection of the Joint Support Ship design was conducted through a transparent assessment process, involving multiple government departments and third party advisers, based on three criteria: operational capability, affordability, and the cost and schedule risks associated with building the ship," the government said.

 

"The process was monitored by audit firm KPMG, as an independent third-party. First Marine International, a recognized firm of shipbuilding experts, provided ship construction costing expertise."

 

The government had commissioned BMT Fleet Technology and ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems Canada for designs. BMT provided a new ship design while ThyssenKrupp provided an off-the-shelf design.

 

The government will give the design to Vancouver Shipyards Co. Ltd to review in preparation for actual production

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