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MEPs call to strengthen checks on #EUArmsExports




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EU member states’ systematic failure to apply EU rules on arms export control should be addressed by a sanctions mechanism, Parliament said during plenary.

Despite commonly agreed rules, setting the criteria on who could get an arms export licence, member states have systematically failed to apply them. Parliament is asking for a mechanism to enforce sanctions on EU members that break the rules.

Common rules on arms export are essential to avoid human rights abuses and prevent the use of European weapons against European armed forces, Parliament said.


Saudi Arabia

MEPs have highlighted some particular cases, such as most arms exports to Saudi Arabia getting a green light from EU member states, even though arms exports to the country violated six out of eight criteria, thus undermining the entire European arms control effort. Exported warships helped to reinforce a naval blockade on Yemen, while aircraft and bombs were fundamental to the air campaign, leading to the ongoing suffering of people in Yemen, MEPs note.

They have applauded Germany and the Netherlands, which stopped selling arms to Saudi Arabia, and have criticised member states that have not yet done so. MEPs also call for an embargo to all other members of the Saudi-led coalition in Yemen.


Da’esh armed with 'made in EU'

MEPs say they are “shocked at the amount of EU-made weapons and ammunition found in the hands of Da’esh, in Syria and Iraq” . Under the EU common position, member states must ensure that the export licenses are not diverted to undesirable end-users. However, some EU members, such as Bulgaria and Romania, are failing to apply this provision effectively.

To avoid the risk that the weapons end up in the wrong hands, MEPs call on all member states to “refuse similar transfer in the future, notably to the US and Saudi Arabia”.

The resolution on arms export control was approved by 427 votes to 150, with 97 abstentions.

Rapporteur Sabine Lösing (GUE/NGL, DE) said: "Arms exports do not stabilise foreign countries or regions, neither do they help create peace. Arms amplify conflicts. In Yemen, European weapons are fundamentally responsible for the war taking place. The Common Position on arms exports must be implemented effectively. That includes, among others, a sanctions mechanism."


According to the 19th annual report on arms export, the EU is the second largest arms supplier in the world (27% of global arms export), after the USA (34%) and before Russia (22%). In 2016, 40.5 % of licences for arms exports were granted to countries in the Middle East and North Africa, with Saudi Arabia, Egypt and the United Arab Emirates (UAE) accounting for the bulk of those exports (57.9 billion). .

The EU Common Position on arms exports is the only legally binding, region-wide arrangement on conventional arms exports. It lists eight criteria, which member states have to apply when taking a decision on arms export licence.

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Arms exports

#USEUCOM - US European Command begins Europe exercise series 



US European Command (USEUCOM) began its Europe exercise series on 10 May with the start of joint exercise Immediate Response in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia. Immediate Response, a freedom of movement exercise, is the first of six, long-planned USEUCOM exercises scheduled to occur in Europe between May and September 2019.  USEUCOM's exercise series brings together NATO allies and partners to enhance interoperability across borders and to deter adversaries.

The goal of the exercise series, referred to as the Joint Exercise Program (JEP), is to "produce trained joint forces ready to enable and execute a full range of military missions," said Major General John Healy, director of USEUCOM's exercises and assessments directorate. "This is in concert with our allies and partners to secure  US national interests, deter Russian aggression and support a Europe that is stable and secure."

The command's exercises are carried out by the combatant command and its components to enhance US readiness to accomplish any mission required while fulfilling NATO treaty obligations. Additionally, the training improves US military capabilities and enhances co-ordination and synchronization with interagency partners. Now through September 2019, six exercises will be hosted by USEUCOM and more than 20 exercises will be hosted by the component commands.


The exercises will take place in Bulgaria, Croatia, Germany, Hungary, Italy, Romania, Slovenia and the Ukraine.  Across the 51-country area of responsibility, USEUCOM's approximately 70,000 service members and civilians engage with European partners and NATO allies to strengthen regional relationships.

The following is a list of EUCOM-hosted exercises:

10-30 May: Immediate Response occurs in Croatia, Hungary and Slovenia and is focused on combined training with Croatia and Slovenia. It is designed to demonstrate freedom of movement and operational command and control, interoperability, and leverage strategic mobility to respond to an emerging contingency.


4-10 June: Astral Knight occurs in Croatia, Germany, Italy and Slovenia, and is a bi-annual Integrated Air and Missile Defense Capstone Exercise focused on conducting defense of key terrain. Training will involve a combination of flight operations and computer-assisted scenarios.

3-24 June: Saber Guardian occurs in Bulgaria, Hungary and Romania, and is a multinational brigade level event focusing on defensive operations and interoperability with NATO countries.

1-12 July: Sea Breeze occurs in Ukraine and the western Black Sea, and is a joint US, Ukrainian sponsored maritime field training exercise (FTX) focusing on maritime security in support of the Partnership for Peace (PfP) program.

29 July to 19 August: Agile Spirit occurs in Georgia, and focuses on peacekeeping, support operations and NATO response force operations in response to regional crises.

16-20 September: Northern Challenge occurs in Iceland, and focuses on rendering safe improvised explosive and sabotage devices.  Exercises in the USEUCOM area of responsibility allow USEUCOM's components to strengthen solidarity with allies and partners; increase transparency to build understanding among neighboring countries; and align collective efforts across borders.

"Exercises like Immediate Response are critical to building readiness and interoperability among our forces, strengthening the alliance and promoting security and stability in the Black Sea and Balkan region," said Lt. Gen. Christopher Cavoli, commander, US Army Europe.

"The level of multinational cooperation demonstrated here at Immediate Response is a credit to our host nations - Croatia and Slovenia - who have hosted this exercise for several years."

Cavoli went on to add that the two countries have been instrumental in growing it from the small command post exercise it began as, to the premier multi-domain logistical and airborne training opportunity it has become.

US European Command is one of two US forward-deployed geographic combatant commands whose area of focus spans across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The command comprises of approximately 70,000 military and civilian personnel and is responsible for US defence operations, relations with NATO and 51 countries. For more information about US European Command, click here. 

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#SEAD - Hitting where it hurts



The Indian Air Force’s new NARGM anti-radiation missile promises a step change for the force’s SEAD doctrine.  Work on the Defence Research and Development Organisation’s (DRDO) New Generation Anti-Radiation Missile (NGARM) commenced in 2012 with an initial budget of $62 million, writes Thomas Withington.

Open sources state that the weapon has a range of between 54 nautical miles/nm (100 kilometres/km) to 65nm (120km). It is intended to equip the Indian Air Force’s (IAF) Sukhoi Su-MKI and Hindustan Aeronautics Limited Tejas series combat aircraft. The missile includes millimetric wave radar transmitting on frequencies of 30 gigahertz/GHz and above. Millimetric wave radar is particularly useful to analyse the precision of the missile’s attack.
No details have been released regarding the frequencies of the NGARM’s radar seeker. It is reasonable to assume that this covers at least a two gigahertz to 20GHz waveband.  One aspect of the missile’s design which remains unclear is whether it can use an aircraft’s Radar Warning Receiver (RWR) to determine hostile radar locations, or whether a separate radar detection system has to be carried by the aircraft to give targeting information of sufficient accuracy.
This is the case for the Panavia Tornado-ECR air defence suppression aircraft flown by the Luftwaffe (German Air Force) and the Aeronautica Militaire (Italian Air Force). These aircraft use the Raytheon Emitter Locator System (ELS). This detects and geo-locates hostile radars across 500 megahertz/MHz to 20GHz waveband. The ELS’ design is thought to be closely based on Raytheon’s AN/ASQ-213(V) HARM Targeting System which outfits the US Air Force’s Lockheed Martin F-16CJ Block-50D Viper Weasel air defence suppression aircraft.
While several platforms such as the McDonnell Douglas/Boeing F/A-18 Hornet and Super Hornet, and the F-16 series can deploy the AGM-88 sans the AN/ASQ-213(V), the pod enables the aircraft to launch missiles at multiple targets, and to do so with impressive accuracy. This transforms an aircraft from employing the missile for self defence, or to protect a strike package, to assuming an offensive posture.
The latter will see the aircraft can hunting and engaging radar threats as part of a wider operational effort to degrade or destroy an Integrated Air Defence System (IADS) at the theatre level.  The development of the NGARM represents an important shot in the arm for the IAF’s SEAD (Suppression of Enemy Air Defence) capabilities.
The IAF is presently thought to possess around 600 Zvezda-Strela Kh-25MP (NATO reporting name AS-12 Kegler) ARMs (Anti-Radiation Missiles). These were delivered between 1995 and 2004. They are believed to be used by the IAF’s MiG-27ML (NATO reporting name Flogger-D/J) jets. This weapon has an inferior range of 22nm (40km) compared to the NGARM.
Given that the Kh-25MP originally entered service in the 1970s, and that the rounds India purchased were delivered in the 1990s, at best this missile maybe a generation behind the NGARM in design and performance.
Air Marshal (rtd.) Daljit Singh, a former IAF fighter pilot and highly respected electronic warfare expert, broadly welcomes the IAF’s NGARM acquisition, although he warned MON that “to be really relevant and effective, the ARM would have to be capable of multimode operations. It must also be upgradable to match emerging radar technologies”.
He stressed that the missile’s seeker must be capable of detecting and locking onto contemporary radar threats employing a myriad of low probability of deception/interception and electronic counter-countermeasure tactics and techniques to hide in the ether. AM Singh also urges the IAF to invest in escort jammers for strike packages, an area he argues where the air force is currently deficient.

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US European Command holds change of command



US European Command (USEUCOM) has held a change of command ceremony at Patch Barracks in Stuttgart, Germany, where US Air Force General Tod D. Wolters assumed command from US Army General Curtis M. Scaparrotti. 

Wolters is the 18th USEUCOM commander and will also serve as the 19th Supreme Allied Commander Europe for NATO Allied Command Operations. As the USEUCOM commander, Wolters is charged with leading more than 68,000 soldiers, sailors, airmen, Marines, coast guardsmen, and civilians across the area of responsibility spanning 51 countries and territories.

The change in leadership comes at an important time for the command, which has remained focused on meeting the challenges of a complex and dynamic operating environment. In his remarks, Scaparrotti discussed evolving threats throughout the region during his tenure, emphasizing the command's ability to adapt to an ever-changing landscape.  "We've faced revisionist powers and non-state actors challenging the interests of the United States and our allies and partners in Europe," he noted. "The security environment has become more complex, trans-regional, and certainly more challenging. We have been tested - and proved vigilant, strong, and ready."


According to Scaparrotti, those accomplishments were made possible through the work of talented and tireless leaders throughout the command. He also expressed gratitude to German allies and the continuous support they provide to USEUCOM.

"I want to thank our German hosts, and the special city of Stuttgart. Since 1967, thousands of U.S. service members and their families have called Stuttgart home," said Scaparrotti. "The wonderful experiences they have had here are forever woven into the tapestry of their lives, just as Stuttgart is now a special place for Cindy and me."

Secretary of the Army, Dr. Mark T. Esper, who presided over the event, said the command benefited tremendously while under Scaparrotti's watch, and will continue to thrive under Wolters' leadership.  "For 57 years, EUCOM has been defending freedom, standing bravely alongside a resilient network of like-minded partners and allies," said Esper. "The men and women of this command symbolize America's enduring commitment to Europe, the NATO alliance, and freedom around the world."


Upon taking the helm, Wolters praised Scaparrotti's leadership and impact on the men and women of the command and the mission.   "The guarantee with General Scaparrotti [is] that you're in great hands and you could not be better led," said Wolters. "He is always vigilant, always responsible, always detailed."

Wolters addressed those he now serves alongside, saying: "You've demonstrated a relentless desire to engage and embrace a whole-of-government, whole-of-nation, and whole-of-alliance approach. It has dramatically enhanced our alignment and transparency. We won't relent on building relationships and nurturing trust."

Prior to taking command, Wolters served as Commander, U.S. Air Forces in Europe; Commander, US Air Forces Africa; Commander, Allied Air Command, headquartered at Ramstein Air Base; and Director, Joint Air Power Competence Centre, Kalkar, Germany. He was responsible for the air and missile defense of 29 NATO Alliance member nations while commanding US airpower across more than 19 million square miles, to include 104 countries in Europe, Africa, Asia, and the Middle East, the Arctic, Atlantic, and Indian Oceans.   Wolters is a graduate of the Air Force Academy, where he received his commission in 1982.

Wolters is a command pilot with more than 5,000 flying hours in the F-15C, F-22, OV-10, T-38, and A-10 aircraft. He has been assigned to numerous operational, command and staff positions throughout his career.

US European Command is one of two US forward-deployed geographic combatant commands whose area of focus spans across Europe, portions of Asia and the Middle East, and the Arctic and Atlantic oceans. The command is comprised of more than 60,000 military and civilian personnel, and is responsible for U.S. defense operations and relations with NATO and 51 countries. For more information about U.S. European Command, click here.

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