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12 novembre 2015 4 12 /11 /novembre /2015 16:50
Exercise Arrcade Fusion. photo UK MoD.jpg

Exercise Arrcade Fusion. photo UK MoD.jpg


10 November 2015 Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP


UK Armed Forces are leading a NATO Land training exercise in the Baltic states, underlining continued support to the region.

Exercise Arrcade Fusion, which takes place in Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania, will be led by the Army, accompanied by a small number of supporting personnel from the Royal Navy and Royal Air Force.

Around 1,400 troops from 18 NATO nations will take part in the exercise, which began over the weekend, and runs through November. The UK is committing 800 troops and around 350 Army logistics vehicles.

The UK led exercise will put the Allied Rapid Reaction Corps (ARRC) – the land element of NATO’s new Rapid Reaction Force – to the test. The exercise will help prepare the new force before it becomes operational in 2016.

It will also demonstrate NATO’s capacity to operate in complex environments across the conventional, unconventional and hybrid spectrum of warfare.

Arrcade Fusion reinforces the UK’s continued commitment to the Baltic States. Next year RAF jets will take part in the Baltic Air Policing mission for the 3rd consecutive year while last month, the Defence Secretary announced that the UK will deploy a persistent presence to the Baltic states to provide reassurance and build the capability of their armed forces of the region.

Defence Secretary Michael Fallon said:

This exercise underlines our commitment to the sovereignty of the democratic nations of Eastern Europe.

It builds on our decision to deploy RAF jets and company sized units to the Baltic region.

It will also provide crucial training to ensure the effectiveness of the new Rapid Reaction Force when it launches next year.

Lieutenant General Tim Evans, commander Allied Rapid Reaction Corps, said:

The Allied Rapid Reaction Corps has deployed to the Baltic States on Exercise Arrcade Fusion to improve and refine the way we operate alongside our allies in the region.

The exercise will also assure the public and the governments of the Baltic states that NATO stands ready to support its members when required.

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1 octobre 2015 4 01 /10 /octobre /2015 16:50
A 147th Reconnaissance Wing MQ-1B Predator is parked at Lielvārde Air Base, Latvia, Aug. 31, 2015..jpg

A 147th Reconnaissance Wing MQ-1B Predator is parked at Lielvārde Air Base, Latvia, Aug. 31, 2015..jpg

1 oct. 2015 by NATO


Old-school A-10 Warthog ground attack planes and ultra-modern Predator remotely piloted aircraft vie for airspace at Lielvarde airbase in central Latvia.Latvia.

Officials, military personnel and Latvian President Raimonds Vējonis converged on the newly renovated facility to view the Predator in action on its first-ever U.S. deployment in Europe.


Note RP Defense : Read US shows off drones at Latvia's Lielvarde airbase

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16 septembre 2015 3 16 /09 /septembre /2015 07:50
Marines: Preparing For A Baltic War


September 15, 2015: Strategy page


Fear of Russia is creating a new military alliance in northern Europe. Since 2014 Sweden and Finland, while not NATO members, have been training with other Baltic states (Denmark, Norway, Poland, Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania) that are. This year Sweden and Finland participated (along with 15 other nations) in the BALTOPS naval exercise. The 5,600 troops involved were mainly concerned with confirming that everyone’s equipment, procedures and communications worked as needed for joint naval and amphibious operations.


One of the things the 2015 BALTOPS was concerned with was defending Gotland; a key Swedish island between Sweden and Latvia. Whoever controls Gotland dominates the eastern Baltic and access to most of the Swedish coastline. BALTOPS planners also examined retaking Gotland if Russia were to seize it, which Sweden sees as an increasing possibility. Sweden now plans to increase the Gotland garrison and build more fortifications.


BALTOPS also worked on amphibious operations in the Baltic States (Latvia, Lithuania, Estonia), which are now NATO members and threatened by Russia. Sweden and Finland have long been allies and are increasing their military cooperation and coordination.

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20 juillet 2015 1 20 /07 /juillet /2015 17:50
La Lituanie et la Lettonie coopèrent en matière de défense militaire


17 Juillet 2015 Arthur Vernassière - lejournalinternational.fr


Les deux pays baltes ont annoncé cette semaine qu’ils se sont engagés pour une coopération militaire. Les présidents des deux pays se sont retrouvés à Vilnius pour décider de renforcer leurs armements et leur défense. L’accord prévoit notamment d’accroître les capacités aériennes des deux pays de la mer baltique. La Lituanie et la Lettonie ont également invité la Pologne et l’Estonie à les rejoindre dans cette collaboration.

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10 juin 2015 3 10 /06 /juin /2015 16:40
RAF Typhoon of 6 Squadron from 121 Expeditionary Air Wing deployed in Estonia intercepts Russian Il-20 Coot A electronic surveillance aircraft - photo RAF.jpg

RAF Typhoon of 6 Squadron from 121 Expeditionary Air Wing deployed in Estonia intercepts Russian Il-20 Coot A electronic surveillance aircraft - photo RAF.jpg

10 June 2015 by Royal Air Force

RAF Typhoons made a “two-in-one” interception, launching to find and identify Russian aircraft in two different places over the Baltic Sea as part of the NATO Baltic Air Policing mission for Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.


A pair of Typhoons were scrambled this morning from Ämari Air base in Estonia to intercept an unknown aircraft tracking the Baltic airspace without having filed a flight plan. Having identified it as an Il-20M Coot A surveillance aircraft, they were then re-tasked whilst still airborne to check out another aircraft. It was seen to be an An-26 Curl transport aircraft going north from Kaliningrad.

These two intercepts resulted from close teamwork between the Estonian Air Force and the RAF Air Surveillance and Control System (ASACS) detachment at Ämari. ASACS detachment commander, Flight Lieutenant Paul “Griff” Griffin explained: “The Estonian controllers will have seen it on their radar picture. They evaluate speed, heading, height and whether it has a flight plan. They give it an appropriate ID coloured according to their assessment of its intent. We saw this one show up in a sea of green.”

He continued: “My job as the 121 EAW representative is to provide input to NATO’s Combined Air Operations Centre at Uedem in Germany. It’s almost like a bidding process. Every unit identifies what they can do. In this case the Typhoons were given a ‘Yes’ and one of the Estonians hit the ‘Scramble’ button. As our aircraft get in the air, it’s my job to vector them on. Steering them left, right, faster, slower to get them behind the unknown aircraft.”

Sgt Chris Ashcroft, in the ASACS detachment takes-up the story: “My part is to generate the air picture – so it can be seen in the cockpit to increase the situational awareness of the Typhoon pilots. It takes a bit of training to ensure they have the right footprint visible”.

Interception of two aircraft on the same sortie demonstrates the flexible capability of the RAF Typhoons in policing Baltic airspace and making it safer for civilian air traffic. Detachment Commander, Wing Commander Stu Smiley said: “As we enter our second month of policing the Baltic airspace, this is the fourth intercept tasking we have had. It’s much as expected. Today’s double intercept easily demonstrates the capability we bring to the mission”.

Flt Lt Griffin simply summed it up: “ It’s a bit like waiting for a bus. You wait so long and then two turn up at once. But we are trained to do that.”

An-26 Curl transport aircraft - photo RAF.jpg

An-26 Curl transport aircraft - photo RAF.jpg

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21 mai 2015 4 21 /05 /mai /2015 18:50
Initiative to mitigate human-related risks in cyber space signed


Brussels - 19 May, 2015 by European Defence Agency


On 18 May, the Ministers of Defence of Austria, Estonia, Finland, Latvia, Lithuania, and the Netherlands as well as the High Representative of the Union for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy/Head of Agency on behalf of the European External Action Service, EU Military Committee and European Defence Agency, signed a pledge to mitigate human-related risks in cyber space by launching the Cyber Hygiene initiative. The initiative is an important contribution to the implementation of the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework, notably on awareness raising for CSDP structures, missions and operations.


By joining the pledge, the signatory Member States promise to adopt and implement internal guidelines for best behavioural principles for cyber hygiene by the end of 2016. This includes, for example, introducing a mandatory e-learning platform.

Initiated by the Latvian Presidency of the Council of the EU and the Estonian Ministry of Defence, the initiative calls to strengthen cyber security culture as low awareness and human-related risks are a common cause of cyber incidents. A large number of cyber incidents can be avoided, or their effects greatly mitigated, if certain behavioural cyber security procedures and implementation measures are applied. It is part of a wider project, which aims to educate the members of defence sector institutions on secure behaviour while using online resources. 

Beyond its commitment to implement internal guidelines, the Agency will contribute to expanding this initiative to other interested EU Member States.

EDA activities

The December 2013 European Council identified cyber defence as one of the priority areas to take forward in the European Union. Furthermore, in November 2014 the Council adopted the EU Cyber Defence Policy Framework. Cyber defence has also been identified as a priority area in the EDA’s Capability Development Plan. 

The armed forces are reliant on cyberspace both as a user and as a domain to achieve defence and security missions. The Agency is active in the fields of cyber defence capabilities and in the research & technology domain.

In the last three years, the Agency has completed ten cyber defence related projects with a financial volume of about two million euros. This equals to approximately 10% of EDA’s operational budget. Among these ten projects are a stocktaking study of cyber defence capabilities among all EDA Member States and EU institutions, the establishment of a cyber defence research agenda and cyber defence training courses for senior military decision makers as well as the assessment of the feasibility of a EU Cyber Defence Centre for CSDP. 

Copyright picture: European Union, 2015. 
From left to right: Ms. Jeanine HENNIS-PLASSCHAERT, Dutch Minister of Defence; Mr Gerald KLUG, Austrian Federal Minister for Defence and Sport; Mr Sven MIKSER, Estonian Minister of Defence; Ms. Federica MOGHERINI, High Representative of the EU for Foreign Affairs and Security Policy; Mr Raimonds VEJONIS, Latvian Minister for Defence; Mr Juozas OLEKAS, Lithuanian Minister for National Defence; Ms. Piritta ASUNMAA, PSC Ambassador of Finland


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11 mai 2015 1 11 /05 /mai /2015 11:50
American tanks train in Latvia

9 mai 2015 by NATO


An American unit training in Latvia has been demonstrating its tank capability. The exercise involved personnel from the 3rd Infantry Division and M1A2 Abrams battle tanks at the Adazi military base just outside Riga.

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27 mars 2015 5 27 /03 /mars /2015 17:55
photo MI SG Dicom

photo MI SG Dicom


27 mars 2015 Sénat.fr


Lundi 30 mars, le Président du Sénat, Gérard Larcher, organisera, avec Jean Bizet, président de la commission des affaires européennes, une réunion sur la lutte contre le terrorisme avec les représentants des assemblées de certains États européens.


Dans un contexte de menace terroriste durable sur l’Union européenne, et alors que nos concitoyens attendent des réponses claires, le Sénat a en effet décidé de faire des propositions sur les réformes européennes souhaitables.


Depuis plusieurs semaines, sa commission des affaires européennes et sa commission des lois ont ainsi examiné les perspectives de la création du PNR européen, d’un renforcement de l’Espace Schengen, de la création d’un Parquet européen, du développement accéléré de la coopération policière et judiciaire dans la lutte contre le terrorisme, et de l’amélioration de l’action de l’Union européenne contre les sites internet faisant l’apologie de la violence terroriste.


Plusieurs assemblées d’États membres de l’Union européenne ayant été confrontés à des actes terroristes seront représentées à cette réunion du 30 mars : Bundesrat de la République fédérale d’Allemagne, Parlement du Royaume du Danemark, Sénat du Royaume d’Espagne, Chambre des Lords du Royaume-Uni. La Saeima de la République de Lettonie, pays assurant la présidence de l’Union européenne, sera également représentée.


Une déclaration commune rappelant les principes fondamentaux et les actions prioritaires au niveau européen, devrait être adoptée. Pour souligner la solidarité et l’engagement des parlements européens, le dynamisme de leur coopération et envoyer un signal fort aux institutions européennes afin qu’elles prennent rapidement les décisions nécessaires.


Cette déclaration sera complétée, le 1er avril, par l’examen en séance publique, d’une proposition de résolution européenne, adressée au Gouvernement et définissant « la stratégie européenne » du Sénat en matière de lutte contre le terrorisme.

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 17:50
photo  European Parliament

photo European Parliament


March 11th, 2015 defencetalk.com (AFP)


Polish and Latvian officials on Tuesday voiced scepticism over calls for a European Union army to counter a militarily resurgent Russia.


“It’s a very risky idea,” Polish Foreign Minister Grzegorz Schetyna told Poland’s private Radio Zet in reaction to Sunday’s proposal by European Commission head Jean-Claude Juncker.


Juncker, a former Luxembourg prime minister, called for the creation of an EU army following rising tensions with Russia, saying the force could help counter new threats beyond the bloc’s borders and defend European values.


“First of all we have to ask where to raise money to finance such an army, how the combat units will work, who will be in charge of training them,” Schetyna said.


His sentiments were echoed by Latvian Prime Minister Laimdota Straujuma on Monday.


“There is a possibility it could be discussed in July at the European Council, but it’s important to check whether this might be duplicating NATO,” she told Latvian public broadcaster LTV.


Ex-communist Poland joined NATO in 1999 ahead of the three former Soviet-ruled Baltic states of Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania which joined in 2004.


They have all urged the alliance to boost its presence in the region since Russia annexed Ukraine’s Crimean peninsula last year.


NATO is countering Moscow’s moves by boosting defences on Europe’s eastern flank with a spearhead force of 5,000 troops and command centres in six formerly communist members, including the three Baltic states and Bulgaria, Poland and Romania.


General Stanislaw Koziej, a security adviser to Polish President Bronislaw Komorowski, said Juncker’s idea was an impractical “dream”.


“These days, nobody in Europe, no single country is contemplating giving up its sovereignty,” said Koziej.


“To have an army, you need first of all a political decision-maker who would deploy such an army,” added the general, urging further political integration of Europe first.

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 13:50
photo  EU2015LV

photo EU2015LV


March 6, 2015 defense-unmanned.com

(Source: Aerospace and Defence Industries Association of Europe; issued March 5, 2015)


ASD Welcomes EU Initiative On Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems


RIGA, Latvia --- On the occasion of the High Level Conference on civil Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems organised by the Latvian EU Presidency in Riga on 5-6 March 2015, the AeroSpace and Defence Industries Associations (ASD) welcome the intention of the EU Commission to move forward with a joint European action plan to open the (civil) Remotely Piloted Aircraft Systems (RPAS) market.


“RPAS will be huge potential market of future aviation contributing to an estimated employment of 150 000 direct jobs in 2050 , innovation and growth in Europe. In the future, many applications could be developed both in terms of fixed wing aircraft and rotorcraft. Moreover, important technological spin offs could be created to improve efficiency and safety for manned aviation,” said Jan Pie, ASD Secretary General.


Speaking in the name of ASD, Mr Alberto Pietra, Business Development Director at Selex ES, delivered the keynote speech, highlighting the importance of making progress on the insertion of all categories of RPAS into controlled airspace without reducing safety and airspace capacity. Mr Pietra also drew the attention to the fact that Industry was prepared to play a leading role in terms of technology development provided that the right framework is put in place in terms of safety regulation and EU public funding for R&D. ASD in particular stressed the need for Industry to be fully involved in all safety rulemaking initiatives and the need to increase the amount of public funding for R&D beyond the funds currently allocated to SESAR 2020.


ASD represents the Aeronautics, Space, Security and Defence industries in Europe. Based in Brussels, the organisation’s membership today comprises 15 major European aerospace and defence companies and 27 member associations in 20 countries. These industries reach a turnover of 197.3 billion euros, invest 20 billion euros in R&D, employ more than 778,000 people and counts over 3000 companies, 80000 suppliers, many of which are SMEs.

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11 mars 2015 3 11 /03 /mars /2015 08:50
Arrivée de blindés américains en Lettonie - photo US DoD

Arrivée de blindés américains en Lettonie - photo US DoD


10 mars, 2015 Pierre Brassart (FOB)


Après une trêve de plus de 20 ans, assiste-t-on à un renouveau de la Guerre froide ? Pendant près de 50 ans, entre la fin de la Seconde Guerre mondiale et la chute de l’URSS, l’OTAN et l’URSS se sont fait face en Europe, l’arme au pied, tout en luttant directement l’un contre l’autre sur des champs de batailles éloignés et via des armées tierces. Ce fut le cas en Corée, au Viet Nam bien sûr, mais aussi en Afrique, au Moyen-Orient, en Asie Centrale, etc…


Avec la chute du mur de Berlin ainsi que celle du communisme soviétique, on a pensé que la paix et la démocratie allait se répandre sur le monde. Erreur… Aujourd’hui, si l’URSS a cessé d’exister, la Russie est bel et bien sortie de sa torpeur et a repris sa place de grande nation. La guerre de Géorgie  en 2008 a été une première claque pour l’Europe et les USA.  La Russie ne compte pas laisser l’alliance atlantique s’étendre sans réagir.


En 2013, l’Ukraine s’enflamme. Poutine, fin stratège, sait qu’il ne peut intervenir ouvertement. C’est ainsi que l’on a vu des troupes en uniforme, sans signe distinctif, s’emparer des points clés en Crimée, région stratégique pour la Russie. Le fait que ces soldats étaient russes ne faisait aucun doute, mais cette ruse a permis à Poutine de rattacher la Crimée sans que, concrètement, personne n’intervienne. L’affaire aurait pu s’arrêter là, si les provinces orientales et russophones d’Ukraine ne s’étaient pas soulevé à leur tour, entrainant le pays dans une guerre civile longue et sanglante qui n’est pas prêt de s’arrêter. Mais la Russie ayant joué une fois la carte des « troupes inconnues », elle se doit de faire profil bas. C’est ainsi que les séparatistes ukrainiens recevront, comme par magie, suffisamment d’équipement que pour tenir en échec l’armée ukrainienne. Les pays occidentaux se sentiront également menacé par les vols de provocation menés par l’armée de l’air et par l’aéronavale russe. (Mais quand même pas au point de revoir à la hausse leur budget militaire, ou au moins, à la baisse les coupes qui frappe ces derniers dans toute l’Europe).


Mais l’OTAN ne compte pas laisser Poutine faire ce qu’il entend. Si la Russie s’est réveillé, l’OTAN, États-Unis en tête, compte bien lui montrer qu’il y a des limites à ne pas franchir.  L’Ukraine va devenir le nouveau champ de bataille des anciens adversaires russe et américain.


Lancée en 2014, l’opération Atlantic Resolve, menée par les États-Unis, a pour but de démontrer la résolution américaine à contribuer à la sécurité collective des membres de l’OTAN. Ainsi, depuis plusieurs mois, les Américains multiplient les exercices avec les membres orientaux de l’alliance (pays baltes, Pologne), et n’hésitent pas à fournir un soutien à l’Ukraine. D’autres pays de l’OTAN se joignent au mouvement. Le Royaume –Uni va fournir des conseillers à l’armée ukrainienne, la France parle de déployer des Leclerc et des VBCI en Pologne.


Si les pays européens sont encore un peu frileux à l’idée de déployer un grand nombre de troupes et de véhicules, les Américains n’ont pas peur d’envoyer des brigades entières en Europe de l’Est. Après le 2 Cavalry Regiment (monté sur blindés Stryker), c’est au tour de la 1ère brigade blindé de la 3ème division d’infanterie américaine à se déployer en Lettonie. 3000 hommes et plus de 750 véhicules (y compris des chars de combat Abrams et des véhicules de combat d’infanterie Bradley) viennent prendre leur tour de garde à quelques kilomètres de la frontière russe et permettre aux armées baltes de poursuivre leur entrainement.


Maintenant que la Guerre froide est relancée, quels seront les prochains pions que les protagonistes avanceront ?

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10 mars 2015 2 10 /03 /mars /2015 11:50
Abrams Tanks arrive in Latvia--ready for Operation Atlantic Resolve photo US DoD

Abrams Tanks arrive in Latvia--ready for Operation Atlantic Resolve photo US DoD


9 mars 2015 45e Nord.ca (AFP)


Les Etats-Unis ont commencé à déployer 3.000 soldats pour trois mois de manœuvres dans les pays baltes, dans le cadre de l’opération Atlantic Resolve destinée à rassurer les pays de la région face à la Russie, a indiqué lundi le Pentagone.


Près de 750 véhicules et équipements sont arrivés par bateau à Riga pour ces manœuvres qui dureront 90 jours, a précisé le porte-parole du Pentagone, le colonel Steven Warren.

Les équipements comprennent notamment des chars Abrams, les véhicules de combat Bradley et les véhicules Humvees, selon des indications données sur place à l’AFP par le général John O’Connor, chargé du transport des équipements.

Des hélicoptères font également partie du matériel envoyé pour ces manœuvres, a précisé le colonel Warren.

Selon une source militaire américaine, les équipements sont prévus pour rester sur place après le retour dans leurs quartiers des soldats participant aux manœuvres.

Ils resteront tant que ce sera nécessaire pour dissuader la Russie d’une agression, a précisé de son côté le général O’Connor.

L’opération Atlantic resolve (Détermination atlantique) désigne toutes les initiatives militaires prises après le début de la crise ukrainienne par les Etats-Unis, dans le cadre de l’Otan, pour rassurer les pays membres et alliés de l’organisation atlantique face à la Russie.

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5 mars 2015 4 05 /03 /mars /2015 17:50
Deputy Secretary General: NATO-EU cooperation is more important than ever


05 Mar. 2015 NATO


NATO Deputy Secretary General Ambassador Alexander Vershbow has called for deeper cooperation between NATO and the European Union in the fight against new security threats. “We need to work together to manage crises, bring relief, and project stability beyond our borders,” he said. Ambassador Vershbow made his remarks in Riga, Latvia on Thursday (5 March 2015) in a speech to the Interparliamentary Conference for the Common Foreign and Security Policy and the Common Security and Defence Policy. “This is a critical time for the security of all our nations,” Ambassador Vershbow said.


The Deputy Secretary General warned that the Euro-Atlantic community faces “new threats and challenges both on our eastern and our southern borders”. To the east, we see “an angry, revisionist Russia that breaks international rules” and continues to destabilise Ukraine and intimidate its neighbours, he said. Meanwhile, to the south, across the Middle East and North Africa, “ISIL’s violent ideology has poured oil on the fire of extremism and sectarianism”. Ambassador Vershbow noted that migrants fleeing turmoil have placed strain on countries like Italy and Turkey, and that violent ideologies have inspired terrorism on the streets of Europe.


The Deputy Secretary General stressed that NATO and its partners must also be ready to counter hybrid warfare, which combines military intimidation, economic and diplomatic duplicity, and media manipulation. Ambassador Vershbow noted that hybrid warfare has been “central to the Russian strategy” in Crimea and eastern Ukraine. He underlined that any response to hybrid threats should be “multi-faceted”, leveraging the complementary hard and soft power tools of NATO and the European Union.


Ambassador Vershbow also pointed to other areas ripe for deepened cooperation between NATO and the European Union, including support for partners like Ukraine, Georgia, and Moldova; as well as for nations to the south. “There is a key role for the European Union to help these countries with political and economic reforms, to build strong institutions, and to fight corruption,” he said.


The Deputy Secretary General noted that while NATO-EU cooperation has intensified in recent years, “the logic of closer cooperation between NATO and the EU is more compelling than ever before.” He added that the two organisations should “further coordinate our approaches to counter hybrid warfare, dispel propaganda and misinformation, and defend our shared democratic values.”

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19 février 2015 4 19 /02 /février /2015 17:50
Latvia and EDA discuss cooperation opportunities


Riga - 19 February, 2015 European Defence Agency


Raimonds Vējonis, Minister of Defence of the Republic of Latvia and Jorge Domecq, Chief Executive of the European Defence Agency (EDA) met in Riga yesterday to discuss preparations of the upcoming European Council on defence as well as the role of the EDA in fostering European defence cooperation.


“The European Defence Agency has great potential to serve as a valuable platform for initiating, developing and implementing joint European cooperation projects. I believe that the EDA can be an active agent in improving the mutual trust and understanding that is crucial for international cooperation projects at this time of increased concerns about the security in Europe,” Raimonds Vējonis stressed

The Latvian Minister added: “Having had successful cooperation within the Baltic States that we consider the cornerstone of our security, we are looking forward to cooperating within this format. Furthermore, by increasing the effectiveness of our cooperation, we will be able to make the European defence industry more competitive, consolidate the demand and requirements, and use the innovative potential of the small and medium companies and research institutions in Europe, which will increase the competitiveness of the European defence industry in the world."


Increased cooperation

EDA Chief Executive Jorge Domecq also provided a feedback on the important meeting: “This is a crucial moment for European defence generally and defence capabilities specifically. Defence budgets are under pressure and so is our security environment. Through increased cooperation, Member States are able to acquire together the critical capabilities that are out of reach individually. The European Defence Agency is an instrument of the Member States and we stand ready to best support them. We are committed to working closely with Latvia, holding the Presidency of the Council of the European Union, to provide our expert input to High Representative / Vice President and EDA Head of Agency Federica Mogherini ahead of the next European Council. I also take this opportunity to thank Minister Vējonis for his commitment to defence cooperation and EDA”.

The discussion between Minister Vējonis and Jorge Domecq took place shortly before the start of the informal meeting of the EU Ministers of Defence who discussed current security issues and prepared for the upcoming European Council. Riga will also host the biannual EDA meeting of National Armament Directors on 9-10 March. 


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10 février 2015 2 10 /02 /février /2015 12:50
Latvia signs Diplomatic Clearances Technical Arrangement


Brussels/Riga - 09 February, 2015 European Defence Agency


Latvia joined the Diplomatic Clearances Technical Arrangement as 14th member on 1st January 2015. Belgium, Bulgaria, Cyprus, Czech Republic, Germany, Greece, Italy, Lithuania, Netherlands, Norway, Romania, Slovakia, Sweden already signed the arrangement to simplify and harmonise military air transport in Europe. 


The aim of EDA’s Diplomatic Clearances Technical Arrangement is to harmonise procedures for overflights and landings of EU nations military registered or operated transport aircraft. The arrangement enables signatory member states to operate without the need to submit diplomatic requests for each flight since an annual diplomatic clearance number is issued. 

This common mechanism increases efficiency and effectiveness of European airlift as there is more flexibility during mission preparation and mission execution. Furthermore it saves human and financial resources of the member states with a significantly reduced number of required requests and notifications. A dedicated online portal provides basic transparency on national policies and procedures for granting diplomatic clearances for military transport aircraft according to the technical arrangement. 



The disparate requirements to obtain diplomatic clearances to land in or to fly over EU member states cause unnecessary delays and hamper swift airlift operations. The legacy diplomatic clearances mechanism needs to be tailored to the 21st century’s requirements, especially looking at the future implementation of the Single European Sky (SES) where a route driven system will evolve into a trajectory driven system.


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26 janvier 2015 1 26 /01 /janvier /2015 17:50
NATO Strategic Communications - SEDE


26-01-2015 SEDE


The Subcommittee will exchange views with Ambassador Jānis Kārkliņš, Director of the NATO Strategic Communications Centre of Excellence in Riga.



When: 29 January 2015


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26 janvier 2015 1 26 /01 /janvier /2015 12:50
photo Normunds Mežiņš, RYC

photo Normunds Mežiņš, RYC


Riga - 26 January, 2015 European Defence Agency


Against the background of changes to the global security environment, Latvian Minister of Defence Raimonds Vējonis emphasised the importance of working together to guarantee Europe’s security and prosperity. Opening a high-level seminar organised in the framework of the Latvian EU Presidency on 19 January, he argued that the European Council in June presented a significant opportunity to address common threats and challenges.

During his speech, Minister Vējonis outlined a review of strategic defence documents as one of Latvia’s priorities for the European Council. In particular, an update of the European Security Strategy should be assigned. Secondly, cooperation and coordination between EU bodies active in the field of CSDP should be enhanced. Minister Vējonis mentioned the four capability programmes on air-to-air refuelling, remotely piloted aircraft systems, satellite communications, and cyber defence, the European Defence Agency was entrusted with as successful examples of increased cooperation. He emphasised that the EU’s comprehensive approach including cooperation between military and civilian actors should be bolstered to address hybrid threats. Finally, cyber defence and the EU’s maritime security are two areas Latvia will put special emphasis on during its presidency.

The seminar "Building consensus towards the June 2015 European Council - next steps?" was attended by representatives from the EU Ministries of Defence, European institutions as well as representatives of the academic community. The European Defence Agency participated in a panel discussion on strengthening Europe’s defence industry. Tarja Jaakkola, Deputy Director & Head of Unit Market and Industry Policy presented the Agency’s work in the fields of research and dual-use. Further discussions included ways of enhancing the development of EU capabilities as well as the role of the EU CSDP in the global security environment.


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21 janvier 2015 3 21 /01 /janvier /2015 17:50
Priorités de la présidence lettone au Parlement Européen (extraits)


21-01-2015 - REF. : 20150119IPR10104


Les ministres lettons présenteront les priorités de la présidence lettone du Conseil devant les diverses commissions parlementaires, dans le cadre d'une série de réunions organisées pendant les deux dernières semaines de janvier.



Résoudre les crises en Syrie et en Ukraine et faire face à l'épidémie d'Ebola en Afrique sont les priorités de la présidence lettone en termes de développement, a expliqué la Secrétaire d'État parlementaire aux affaires européennes, Zanda Kalniņa-Lukaševica, en commission du développement mercredi. Les députés ont demandé à la Lettonie de profiter de l'Année européenne du développement 2015 pour tenter de mettre fin au "sous-financement chronique du développement" et renforcer le lien entre l'aide humanitaire et l'aide au développement, en cherchant des solutions à long terme, comme investir dans les systèmes de soin de santé dans les pays africains.


Justice et affaires intérieures

Avancer sur le paquet relatif à la protection des données, afin d'essayer d'obtenir un mandat de négociation au Conseil, sera la première priorité de la présidence, a affirmé le ministre de la justice, Dzintars Rasnačs, en commission de la justice et des affaires intérieures, mercredi. Parmi les autres priorités figurent les travaux sur la protection des intérêts financiers de l'UE et les droits des suspects en droit pénal. Selon le ministre de l'intérieur, Rihards Kozlovskis, la présidence est ouverte au dialogue pour progresser sur la proposition des données PNR européennes, en se basant sur le respect des droits de l'homme et des libertés. Les efforts concernant la mise à jour de la stratégie de sécurité interne de l'UE et les nouvelles dispositions gouvernant Europol et le CEPOL se poursuivront également, a précisé le ministre. En termes de migrations et d'asile, il a souligné l'importance d'avoir une approche européenne commune envers la traite des êtres humains en Méditerranée et a déclaré que les travaux sur le système d'asile unique devaient aller plus loin.

Répondant aux questions des députés sur le paquet relatif à la protection des données, le ministre de la justice, Dzintars Rasnačs, a affirmé que les trilogues (négociations entre le Parlement, le Conseil et la Commission) seraient possibles "après le Conseil de juin", mais a souligné la volonté des États membres d'avancer sur ce dossier.

Concernant la proposition sur les données PNR européennes, M. Kozlovskis a mentionné que les "bonnes pratiques" en termes d'utilisation des PNR par les États membres qui ont déjà introduit leurs propres systèmes devraient être débattues lors de la réunion informelle du Conseil Justice et Affaires intérieures le 29 janvier. Il a assuré aux députés que "l'objectif est de garantir la protection des données et le respect des droits fondamentaux". Il a précisé que la présidence se baserait sur les travaux des présidences précédentes en matière de migrations et a mentionné ses projets pour lutter contre le trafic d'êtres humains.


Industrie, recherche et énergie

"Notre approche vise à réduire petit à petit les frais d'itinérance, étant donné que les conditions dans les États membres sont différentes", a déclaré le ministre letton des transports, Anrijs Matīss, pendant le débat de mercredi matin sur les priorités de la présidence concernant le paquet des télécommunications et les TIC. Des négociations tripartites (Parlement, Conseil et Commission) pourraient avoir lieu en mars sur les propositions liées à la sécurité des réseaux et de l'information (SRI), dans le but d'améliorer la directive d'ici le mois de juillet, a-t-il proposé. L'"agenda numérique" représente une priorité de la présidence et la réunion du Conseil sur la compétitivité du mois de mai abordera les divers aspects de ce sujet très large, a-t-il déclaré.

La ministre lettone de l'éducation et des sciences, Mārīte Seile, a présenté les quatre priorités de la présidence en termes de recherche et d'espace: les éléments numériques de l'innovation de la recherche, une politique globale de l'espace, lier l'union de l'innovation et l'espace de recherche européen, et continuer à développer l'espace de recherche.


Affaires étrangères

Les négociations sur l'élargissement de l'UE "progresseront là où cela possible", a promis le ministre des affaires étrangères, Edgars Rinkēvičs, lorsqu'il a présenté les priorités de la présidence devant la commission des affaires étrangères lundi. Il espère ouvrir les premiers chapitres de négociation avec la Serbie, signer un accord de stabilisation et d'association avec le Kosovo, ouvrir de nouveaux chapitres de négociation avec le Monténégro et progresser avec la Turquie si le pays "montre son engagement envers les valeurs européennes".

Les députés ont demandé s'ils pouvaient s'attendre à des progrès en ce qui concerne la Bosnie-Herzégovine. Certains s'inquiètent que les restrictions de la Lettonie sur l'utilisation de la langue russe n'affecte les relations avec la Russie et ont demandé quelles mesures seraient mises en place pour appliquer le cessez-le-feu en Ukraine. D'autres questions ont été posées sur les objectifs de la Lettonie concernant le sommet du partenariat qui aura lieu à Riga en mai, la lutte contre le terrorisme ainsi que le dialogue avec les sociétés musulmanes afin de combattre la radicalisation et soutenir la paix en Syrie et en Libye.


Ce communiqué sera mis à jour quotidiennement.

Priorités de la présidence lettone au Parlement Européen (extraits)

Note Rp Defense ; voir La présidence du Conseil de l'UE

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21 novembre 2014 5 21 /11 /novembre /2014 07:50
Le secrétaire général de l'Otan cherche à rassurer les pays baltes


Tallinn, 20 nov 2014 Marine & Océans (AFP)


Le secrétaire général de l'Otan Jens Stoltenberg a commencé jeudi une tournée éclair en Estonie, en Lettonie et en Lituanie destinée à rassurer ces petits pays membres de l'Otan, inquiets du comportement de la Russie dans le conflit ukrainien.


"L'Otan est là pour protéger et défendre l'Estonie", a-t-il dit sur la base aérienne d'Ämari (nord), où il a rencontré le Premier ministre estonien Taavi Roivas, ainsi que des militaires américains, allemands et estoniens.


Il a notamment félicité Tallinn pour avoir dépensé 2% de son PIB pour la défense, la donnant en exemple aux autres membres de l'Alliance, et rappelant "son rôle de leader dans le renforcement de la cyberdéfense". L'Estonie est considérée comme un des pays les plus avancés dans le développement de technologies numériques. Elle accueille cette semaine Cyber Coalition 2014, le plus grand exercice cybernétique dans l'histoire de l'Otan.


M. Stoltenberg a évoqué aussi l'augmentation du nombre de vols d'avions militaires russes autour de l'Estonie et d'autres pays de l'Otan. "Nous avons eu plus de 100 interception (d'avions russes), ce qui est le triple de l'année dernière", a-t-il dit.


Interrogé sur la vente de deux navires de guerre Mistral français à la Russie, M. Stoltenberg s'est abstenu de tout commentaire. "L'Otan de vend pas de matériel militaire, ce sont les Etats qui le font. Ce n'est pas à l'Otan de décider comment ils doivent conduire leurs affaires", a-t-il dit.


Il devait se rendre jeudi après-midi à Riga et visiter la Lituanie vendredi.


A Riga, il suivra de près la secrétaire d'Etat adjointe américaine pour l'Europe Victoria Nuland, qui s'y est arrêtée en route pour l'Ukraine pour accompagner le vice-président Joe Biden. Elle y a déclaré que les Etats-Unis "attendaient toujours de voir l'engagement de la Russie et des séparatistes" à appliquer les accords de Minsk, citant "un vrai cessez-le-feu sur la ligne de contact, la fermeture de la frontière internationale et le retrait des forces étrangères" du territoire ukrainien.


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11 novembre 2014 2 11 /11 /novembre /2014 17:50
Otan: début des exercices Trident Juncture en Estonie


TALLIN, 9 novembre - RIA Novosti


La phase active des exercices de forces de réaction rapides de l'Otan Trident Juncture  a débuté en Estonie et dans d'autres pays de l'Alliance, a annoncé dimanche l'état-major des Forces d'autodéfense estoniennes.


Les exercices qui devront prendre fin le 17 novembre, impliquent près de 1.500 militaires et spécialistes civils en provenance de 20 pays membres de l'Otan.


Selon le scénario des exercices, l'Estonie a été attaquée par une grande puissance adverse. L'Otan, en conformité avec l'article 5 de la charte de l'Alliance atlantique, qui considère une attaque contre un pays membre de l'Otan en Europe ou en Amérique du Nord comme une attaque visant l'ensemble de l'Alliance, expédie en Estonie sa Force de réaction rapide.

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10 septembre 2014 3 10 /09 /septembre /2014 11:50
Nato-led Exercise Steadfast Javelin II concludes

500 paratroopers were dropped over Lielvarde Airbase in Latvia, to take control and clear the airfield of enemy forces during Exercise Steadfast Javelin II. Photo Nato.


10 September 2014 army-technology.com


The member countries of Nato have completed the large-scale, multinational Steadfast Javelin II exercise, which tested the allied interoperability.


Carried out in Estonia, Germany, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland, the seven-day exercise involved the participation from more than 2,000 troops from ten allied nations.


The participating countries included Poland, Italy, Canada, Lithuania, Estonia, Bulgaria, Germany, Latvia, the UK and the US.


The Nato Allied Land Command-led drill was aimed at increasing interoperability and synchronising complex operations between allied air and ground forces through airborne and air assault missions.


Joint Forces Command Brunssum (JFCB) commander general Hans-Lothar Domrose said: "With this exercise, Nato sent the clear message that it is committed and ready to protect member nations' territory at any time.


"The alliance is capable and willing to defend the countries of Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania and Poland should the need arise."


During the exercise, 500 paratroopers were dropped from a US Air Force's (USAF) C-130 aircraft over the Lielvarde Airbase in Latvia, in order to take control and clear the airfield of enemy air defence and forces.


In addition, 160 allied force paratroopers were dropped in a similar operation in Lithuania.


The airdrops were combined with air-assault raids across Poland, Latvia and Lithuania, to demonstrate how well Nato air and ground troops work in tandem.


Before the start of drill, air and ground forces gathered at the Ramstein Airbase in Germany to begin planning, rehearsals and the loading of equipment and paratroopers necessary for the successful completion of the mission.

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8 septembre 2014 1 08 /09 /septembre /2014 16:50
International partners sign Joint Expeditionary Force agreement

The Latvian Chief of Defence meeting British soldiers during a NATO training exercise


5 September 2014 Ministry of Defence and The Rt Hon Michael Fallon MP


Defence Secretary Michael Fallon has signed a letter of intent with international partners to develop the Joint Expeditionary Force.


The letter of intent, signed with partners from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway, aims to develop the Joint Expeditionary Force (JEF) so that it is fully operational before 2018.

The JEF is a pool of high readiness, adaptable forces that is designed to enhance the UK’s ability to respond rapidly, anywhere in the world, with like-minded allies, or on behalf of international organisations such as the UN or NATO.

The UK’s contribution will include the lead commando, airborne, armoured, aviation, air and maritime task groups.

The Defence Secretary said:

I am very pleased that we have signed a letter of intent with our partners to establish the Joint Expeditionary Force.

This will be developed around the UK’s existing high readiness units and will provide a capability that can respond anywhere in the world, in any environment, as part of a coalition, or on behalf of international organisations such as the UN and NATO.

We are stronger together. Our partners from Denmark, Estonia, Latvia, Lithuania, the Netherlands and Norway have all agreed to attach forces to the JEF when the time is right for us to stand together.

British and Estonian soldiers
A British soldier liaises with an Estonian anti-tank section commander during a NATO training exercise [Picture: Specialist Joshua Leonard]

The signing ceremony took place with all 28 defence ministers in Cardiff aboard HMS Duncan on 4 September at the NATO Summit. During the signing, discussions took place on how the agreement will allow the UK and JEF partners to continue with the excellent operational co-operation that has been achieved to date in places like Afghanistan.

The force will provide the UK’s focus for developing flexible, rapid response forces for NATO, or other coalition operations, to meet together the challenges of an unpredictable world. Through the UK-led JEF, a model for others to follow as well as a focus for fairer defence burden-sharing is being provided.

For the latest updates visit the NATO Summit Wales 2014 page on GOV.UK and @NATOWales on Twitter.

The aim is to create a UK military framework, focused around its existing high readiness capabilities, that its partners can join up with. While it is the UK’s intention to fully integrate the UK’s JEF partners’ contributions before 2018, the JEF could deploy immediately if required.

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1 septembre 2014 1 01 /09 /septembre /2014 19:50
A Russian SU-27 Flanker (top) with a RAF Typhoon fighter

A Russian SU-27 Flanker (top) with a RAF Typhoon fighter


1 September 2014 Ministry of Defence


The handover marks the conclusion of a four-month NATO deployment to secure NATO’s airspace over Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania


Royal Air Force No 135 Expeditionary Air Wing (EAW) has formally handed over the role of supporting nation in the Baltic Air Policing (BAP) mission to the Royal Canadian Air Force.


The handover ceremony marked the conclusion of the four month deployment of four RAF Typhoon fighter aircraft that have been providing reassurance to the UK’s allies in the region.


Over the past 10 years the BAP mission has seen NATO allies deploy air defence aircraft to secure NATO’s airspace over the Baltic nations of Latvia, Estonia and Lithuania.


Additionally, the role of lead nation was handed over from the Polish Air Force to the Portuguese Air Force.


The British Ambassador to Lithuania, His Excellency David Hunt said:

    The deployment of the RAF Typhoons has been seen as an act of solidarity during a period of genuine insecurity in Lithuania’s Eastern neighbourhood. Our bilateral relationship is already close but the RAF’s augmentation of BAP has added another dimension to our growing defence cooperation.

    The RAF has enhanced the UK’s reputation over the last four months and I am very grateful for everything they have done.


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29 avril 2014 2 29 /04 /avril /2014 11:50
A Royal Air Force Typhoon taking off from RAF Coningsby - Photo Corporal Phil Major RAF

A Royal Air Force Typhoon taking off from RAF Coningsby - Photo Corporal Phil Major RAF


28 April 2014 Ministry of Defence


Four Royal Air Force Typhoons have deployed today to take part in the Nato Baltic air policing mission over Estonia, Latvia and Lithuania.


The UK fast jets will reinforce the Polish contribution to the air policing mission; a standing defensive mission undertaken by rotations of aircraft from contributing nations on a 4-month cycle.

The Defence Secretary Philip Hammond announced this to the House of Commons in March. The deployment forms part of a series of measures taken by Nato to support and reassure its eastern member states.

Mr Hammond said:

In the wake of recent events in Ukraine, it is right that Nato takes steps to reaffirm very publicly its commitment to the collective security of its members.

As a leading member of Nato, the UK is playing a central role, underlined by today’s deployment of RAF Typhoon aircraft to Lithuania.

This, alongside the other action we are taking, will provide reassurance to our Nato allies in eastern Europe and the Baltic states.

A Royal Air Force Typhoon taking off from RAF Coningsby - Photo Corporal Phil Major RAF

A Royal Air Force Typhoon taking off from RAF Coningsby - Photo Corporal Phil Major RAF


As part of standing arrangements within Nato, members of the alliance without their own air policing assets are assisted by others.

The RAF’s Typhoon FGR4, based at RAF Coningsby in Lincolnshire and RAF Leuchars in Fife, is also used to provide air policing within UK airspace as part of the ‘Quick Reaction Alert’ and in the Falkland Islands.

A multi-role combat aircraft, it is capable of being deployed in the full spectrum of air operations, from air policing through to high intensity conflict.

This Typhoon deployment comes 6 weeks after the UK Sentry E-3D aircraft, which is part of the Nato Airborne Warning and Control System Force, was deployed to Polish and Romanian airspace to provide additional reassurance to our allies.

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26 mars 2014 3 26 /03 /mars /2014 08:50
Le Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance-Tracked de l’armée britannique -Crédits: UK MoD

Le Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance-Tracked de l’armée britannique -Crédits: UK MoD


25 mars, 2014 Guillaume Belan (FOB)


Le ministère letton de la Défense a confirmé, la semaine dernière, le contrat d’acquisition de 120 véhicules blindés CVR-T (Combat Vehicle Reconnaissance-Tracked) d’occasion acheté au Royaume Uni. Cet acquisition est la concrétisation d’un accord (LoI) signé entre Londres et Riga lors du meeting des représentants pays de l’OTAN,  qui s’est tenu à Bruxelles le 27 février dernier. La valeur du contrat est estimée à environ 70 millions d’euros. L’achat de ces 120 CVR-T s’inscrit dans le cadre du programme de modernisation de l’armée lettonne, qui prévoit la mécanisation de ses brigades d’infanterie. Divisé en deux phases, ce programme sera financé jusqu’en 2020 grâce à un investissement d’environ 250 millions d’euros.


En ce qui concerne les 120 CVR-T, il devrait s’agir plus précisément de FV107 Scimitar que la British Army a retiré du service après les avoir utiliser durant la guerre du Golfe, en ex-Yougoslavie, en Irak et en Afghanistan. Produit par Alvis Car and Engineering, le Scimitar est un chenillé de la classe de 7,8 tonnes, armé d’un canon L21 RARDEN de 30 mm et d’une mitrailleuse coaxiale L37A1 de 7,62 mm OTAN.


« Il s’agit d’une première étape d’un projet plus vaste de modernisation de nos forces armées »  a commenté Raimonds Vējonis, le Ministre de la défense letton. Car le programme letton prévoit également l’acquisition de véhicules blindés de transport de troupes, aujourd’hui inexistants dans l’infanterie.

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