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2017 : A Continental Free Trade Area in Africa?

Sun, 01/01/2017 - 13:25

Under the aegis of the African Union, the 54 states will set up a "Schengen-like" borderless area in 2017 to boost trade. Negotiations for the establishment of a Continental Free Trade Area (CFTA) in Africa were formally launched in June 2015 at the African Union Summit in Johannesburg. A year later, a boost seems to be given to the project, although the project exists since the signing in 1991 of the Treaty of Abuja.

Why now ? In a context of global economic crisis, African states are somewhere forced to accelerate the pace. In 2015 the Tripartite Initiative involving COMESA, EAC and SADC was launched, with a view to the preparation of a large free trade area from Cairo to Cape Town. The Tripartite Initiative, the largest free trade agreement involving 26 countries from three regional economic communities (RECs), Comesa, CEA and SADC, with a total of 530 million inhabitants for a gross domestic product Total of $ 630 billion, more than half of Africa's economic output. This initiative has rekindled the interest of African leaders in broadening the continental free trade area.

Intra-African trade must be saved because it accounts for only 10% of trade on the continent, while in the EU, Asia and North America, intra-regional trade represents respectively 70 %, 52% and 50% of trade. Moreover, the share of Africa in world trade is even more derisory since it represents only about 2%. Implementing such an Africa-wide FTA could boost intra-African trade to the tune of US $ 35 billion annually by 2022. A review of the genesis and functioning of this area of free movement of more than one billion people.

The CFTA is a priority initiative of the AU Agenda 2063. The objective of the CFTA is to create a single continental market for goods and services, to establish the free movement of business people. It also aims to pave the way for the acceleration of the establishment of the customs union in 2022 and an African economic community by 2028. This gradual approach is justified by the fact that integration should be consolidated at regional level, through the creation and the strengthening of regional economic communities (RECs). The RECs would ultimately merge into the African Economic Community. (There are 8 RECs : UMA, CEN-SAD, CEDEAO / ECOWAS, UEMOA, MRU, CEEAC, SADC, COMESA, IGAD.)

The current intra-African trade situation is disappointing. Despite the fact that the free movement of persons, the right of residence and the right of establishment are the founding principles enshrined in Chapter VI of the Abuja Treaty, a truck that delivers supermarkets in Southern Africa needs 1,600 documents, permits and licenses to legally cross borders.In the future, the continental free trade area could just as well require the removal of barriers such as the imposition of visa requirements that restrict the movement of people across national borders. Far from being settled, remains the issue of labor mobility among African countries, one of the most contentious issues for African leaders due to security or political instability problems.

Trade and industry are catalysts for African development for the African Union, once the establishment of the CFTA, the competitiveness of industrial products would be increased by exploiting the potential of economies in a wider continental market . The initiative would also help diversify and transform the African economy, improve resource allocation, reduce prices in countries and make Africa less vulnerable to external trade shocks. In addition, regional integration of the continent should integrate regional markets with efficient infrastructure to attract investment and improve access to better products and services.

Twenty million dollars were raised to finance the initial CFTA projects in the areas of goods and services, investment and intellectual property. Of the amount so far obtained from development partners, the AU Member States contributed $ 3 million for 2016 and $ 4.9 million for 2017.
CFTA can be a paradise for international and african criminality and smuggle, like the Schengen area? Planned for 18 July 2017, the release of an African electronic passport should enable nationals of the 54 African countries to travel visa-free across Africa. For now, the initiative only concerns heads of state, government and foreign ministers. In practice, African citizens would retain their national passports and would be issued an African e-passport by the AU. A first on the world scale. But the billion African citizens will have to wait until 2025 to benefit.

Tag: african continental free trade areaSchengenTripartite InitiativeAbuja Treaty
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

End of the mission EUPOL Afghanistan

Sat, 12/31/2016 - 00:00

After nearly a decade of support for civilian police in Afghanistan, the European Union Police Mission in Afghanistan (EUPOL) officially closed its activities today, Saturday (31 December 2016) at midnight. In fact, the mission has already slowed down its activities for a few days already. A meeting marking the end of the mission was organized, Wednesday, December 14, a few days after the official end of the mission.


Tag: EUPOL AfghanistanCSDP
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Australia buys 12 French Barracuda submarines

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 09:14

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian inked the inter-governmental agreement (IGA) in Adelaide that will see French shipbuilder DCNS design and build the Shortfin Barracudas. The total cost of the 12 submarines, including separate agreements with US and Australian contractors, will hit Aus $50 billion. The vessels will be a scaled-down, conventionally-powered version of France's 4,700-tonne nuclear-fuelled Barracuda but boast the same stealth capabilities.Australia awarded DCNS the main contract in April, beating off competition from Germany TKMS (ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems) and Japan Mitsubishi Heavy Industries.

The IGA is the last foundation stone needed to ensure Australia is able to develop a cutting-edge sovereign submarine capability, this will be a sovereign defence industry creating 2,800 jobs at the very cutting edge of technology. Design and mobilisation work has already been launched with Australian experts working in Cherbourg while DCNS was to open new offices in Adelaide later Tuesday employing up to 300 engineers.

US defence contractor Lockheed Martin was named in September to fit the combat systems for the Barracudas.

Tag: BarracudaDCNSAustralian Navy
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

New CERPESC Analysis about EU New Security Strategy

Tue, 12/20/2016 - 00:00

The Deficiencies, Mistakes and Contradictions of the New EU Foreign and Security Strategy
Evolution or Devolution? From the « Solana Paper » to the « Mogherini Paper »
András István Türke
CERPESC 16/E/3/2016 - 20 December 2016

The events of the last 20 years, the first operations and missions, show that the Common Security and Defense Policy, the CSDP (the European Security and Defense Policy: the ESDP, before 2009) does not exist only on paper. Europe must act to prevent wars and crises or to stop them. The European Union and its member countries are confronted with decisive choices for the future of Europe as a political entity. The external (and above all, energy) dependence of the Union is particularly emphasized by the European security strategies. The documents that function as strategies (the first, the 2003 ESS and the most recent, 2016 EUGS) of the European Union are quite poor in terms of content and objectives. They list the challenges, without drafting the places and means of the overall strategic presence. The purpose of this analysis is to examine the major development issues of EU strategic thinking during the period 2003-2016. Can we talk about development, stagnation, or devolution? Is the new strategy capable of fulfilling its role and can really serve as the basis of our ambitions?

Tag: EUGSESSSolanaMogherini
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

France Creates Cyber Army to Fight Against Foreign Hackers

Wed, 12/14/2016 - 00:00

Since his appointment in 2012, French Defense Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian is concerned about the threats in cyberspace. With reason. CIA suspicions about the role played by Russian hackers in the election of Donald Trump to the fears expressed by the German Chancellor, the "cyber-menace" is now omnipresent. On the occasion of the inauguration on Monday of a skill center on cyber defense in Rennes as well as a new building with 7,000 sensors to house the cyber experiments of the Directorate General of Armaments (DGA) in Bruz (Ille-et-Vilaine), Jean-Yves Le Drian announced in a way the creation of a 4th army, or at least its matrix, that of cyberspace, to complete the army of the last century built on the triptych land, air and sea.

The future cyber force will be based on three missions:
- intelligence (identification of faults, detection of hostile actions),
- protection (building walls of cyber fortress)
- and finally computerized offensive fight (neutralization of tools used by the cyber - opponent).
But Jean-Yves Le Drian goes further: "If a cyber attack is akin to an act of war, notably by the seriousness of its effects, an adequate response must be imposed, even beyond the neutralization of infrastructures alone Involved, in a logic this time of open conflict. "

Clearly, the Minister of Defense warns that in the event of an attack, France reserves the right to retaliate by a cyber or conventional counter-attack. It is the first time that France officially warns its potential opponents that it can qualify a cyber attack in act of war and to respond accordingly. "A major computer attack, given the damage it would cause, could constitute an armed attack within the meaning of Article 51 of the Charter of the United Nations and justify the invocation of self-defense," the Minister said. So to replicate in a "proportional" way, we need a cyber-army.

On Monday, the minister summarized the efforts made and the road ahead. Under the latest military planning law, the force under construction will reach 3,200 people by 2018, double the number in 2012. Given the high level of technical skills required, the minister is also proposing to build a reserve of 4,400 specialists , Of which 400 are capable of offensive action. There, it is a matter of multiplying by ten the effort. Finally, on the side of the DGA, the effort must be multiplied by three to go from 250 to 650 experts. Over 2014-2019, the appropriations devoted to the cyber-war amount to 440 million euros.

Finally, the minister announced the imminent appointment of a new cyber operations commander, a four-star general who will be placed directly under the authority of the chief of staff. In order to carry out military operations, the French army will have its commander-in-chief, which will "have authority over all operational units specializing in cyber defense of the ministry, belonging to all armies, ie 2,600 digital fighters by 2019". Vice-Admiral Arnaud Coustillière, appointed general officer in cyber defense in July 2011, is approached. Decrees and decrees will be promulgated to institutionalize this cyber defense. For the minister, the white collar war is just beginning. In this respect, he often referred to the Stuxnet weapon, the undetectable virus transmitted on Iranian nuclear centrifuges, which delayed Iran's advances in nuclear enrichment by at least two years. 'uranium.

Depuis sa nomination en 2012, le ministre français de défense, Jean-Yves Le Drian s'inquiète des menaces dans le cyberespace. Avec raison. Des soupçons de la CIA sur le rôle joué par des hackeurs russes dans l'élection de Donald Trump aux craintes exprimées par la chancelière allemande, la « cyber-menace » est désormais omniprésente. A l'occasion de l'inauguration ce lundi d'un pôle de compétences sur la cyberdéfense à Rennes ainsi que d'un nouveau bâtiment doté de 7.000 capteurs pour abriter les expériences cyber de la Direction générale de l'armement (DGA) à Bruz (Ille-et-Vilaine), Jean-Yves Le Drian a annoncé en quelque sorte la mise sur pied d'une quatrième armée, ou tout du moins de sa matrice, celle du cyberespace, pour compléter l'armée du siècle passé, construite sur le triptyque terre, air et mer.

La future force cyber s'articulera autour de trois missions : le renseignement (identification des failles, détection des actions hostiles), la protection (édification des murs de la forteresse cyber) et enfin la lutte informatique offensive (neutralisation des outils employés par l'adversaire). Mais Jean-Yves Le Drian va au-delà : « Si une attaque cyber s'apparente à un acte de guerre, notamment par la gravité de ses effets, une riposte adéquate s'impose, au-delà même de la neutralisation des seules infrastructures impliquées, dans une logique cette fois de conflit ouvert. »

En clair, le ministre de la Défense avertit qu'en cas d'attaque, la France se réserve le droit de riposter par une contre-attaque cyber ou conventionnelle. C'est la première fois que la France prévient ainsi officiellement ses adversaires potentiels qu'elle peut qualifier une attaque cyber en acte de guerre et y riposter en conséquence. « Une attaque informatique majeure, eu égard aux dommages qu'elle causerait, pourrait constituer une agression armée au sens de l'article 51 de la Charte des Nations unies et justifier l'invocation de la légitime défense », affirme le ministre. Donc pour répliquer d'une manière « proportionnelle », il faut une cyber-armée.

Une réserve de 4.400 spécialistes
Le ministre a dressé ce lundi un bilan des efforts fournis et du chemin qui reste à parcourir. La force en construction atteindra selon la dernière loi de programmation militaire 3.200 personnes à l'horizon 2018, soit le double des effectifs de 2012. Au vu des compétences techniques de très haut niveau nécessaires, le ministre propose aussi de bâtir une réserve de 4.400 spécialistes, dont 400 aptes à des actions offensives. Là, il s'agit de multiplier par dix l'effort. Enfin, du côté de la DGA, l'effort doit être multiplié par trois pour passer de 250 à 650 experts. Sur 2014-2019, les crédits consacrés à la cyber-guerre atteignent 440 millions d'euros.

Enfin, le ministre a annoncé la nomination imminente d'un nouveau commandant des opérations cyber, un général quatre étoiles qui sera placé directement sous l'autorité du chef d'Etat-major. Pour mener des opérations militaires, l'armée française aura son commandant en chef, lequel « aura autorité sur toutes les unités opérationnelles spécialisées dans la cyberdéfense du ministère, appartenant à toutes les armées, soit 2.600 combattants numériques à l'horizon 2019 ». Le vice-amiral Arnaud Coustillière, nommé officier général à la cyberdéfense en juillet 2011, est pressenti. Des décrets et arrêtés vont être promulgués pour institutionnaliser cette cyberdéfense.

Pour le ministre, la guerre en col blanc ne fait que commencer. Il a, à cet égard, souvent fait allusion ce lundi à l'arme Stuxnet, ce virus indétectable transmis sur les centrifugeuses nucléaires iraniennes qui a permis de retarder d'au moins deux ans les avancées de l'Iran en matière d'enrichissement d'uranium.

Tag: cyberattaquecybersecurityarmée françaiseFranceDrian
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Dirty Diesel : How Switzerland pollutes Africa

Sun, 10/30/2016 - 00:00

More than 12,000 people have already signed a petition asking the Geneva-based giant Trafigura to sell only gasoline and diesel that comply with European standards around the world.
The Swiss trader business model of producing and selling highly polluting high sulfur fuels in Africa has also been politically critical. In Ghana, Nigeria, Mali, Côte d'Ivoire and Senegal, the responsible authorities and members of the government have had to answer many questions and criticisms about the health consequences of poor sulfur standards and poor quality fuels.

Swiss commodity trading companies take advantage of weak fuel standards in Africa to produce, deliver and sell diesel and gasoline, which is damaging to people’s health. Their business model relies on an illegitimate strategy of deliberately lowering the quality of fuels in order to increase their profits. Using a common industry practice called blending, trading companies mix cheap but toxic intermediate petroleum products to make what the industry calls “African Quality” fuels. These intermediate products contain high levels of sulphur as well as other toxic substances such as benzene and aromatics.

By selling such fuels at the pump in Africa, the traders increase outdoor air pollution, causing respiratory disease and premature death. This affects West Africa, in particular, because this is the region where the authorised levels of sulphur in fuels remain very high. West Africa does not have the re ning capacity to produce enough gasoline and diesel for its own consumption, and so it must import the majority of its fuels from Europe and the US, where fuel standards are strict, Public Eye`s investigation September 2016 analyse writes.

To draw attention to this swiss illegal traffic, thanks to Public Eye's "Return to sender" action, the container Irene Rainbow, with on board a container marked "Return to sender" ", Filled with polluted air from the Ghanaian capital traveled 7,000 kilometers separating Accra from the port of Anvers and was then transported to Geneva, where it was handed to Trafigura.

Tag: dirty dieselSwitzerland
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG)

Thu, 10/06/2016 - 22:00

The new European Border and Coast Guard Agency (EBCG) is established today, October 6, 2016.

This successor of the former Frontex (from French: Frontières extérieures for "external borders") is an agency of the European Union headquartered in Warsaw, Poland, tasked with border control of the European Schengen Area, in coordination with the border and coast guards of Schengen Area member states. Frontex was established in 2004 as the European Agency for the Management of Operational Cooperation at the External Borders, and primary responsible for coordinating border control efforts.

In response to the European migrant crisis of 2015-2016, the European Commission proposed on December 15, 2015, to extend Frontex's mandate and to transform it into a fully-fledged European Border and Coast Guard Agency. On 18 December 2015, the European Council roundly supported the proposal, and after a vote by the European Parliament, the Border and Coast Guard was officially launched on 6 October 2016 at the Bulgarian external border with Turkey.

To enable the Agency to carry out its tasks, its budget would be gradually increased from the €143 million originally planned for 2015 up to €238 million in 2016, €281 million in 2017, and will reach €322 million (about US$350 million) in 2020. The staff of the agency would gradually increase from 402 members in 2016 to 1,000 by 2020.

The European Border and Coast Guard Agency is not a new body. It does not replace Frontex and it retains the same legal personality. What the Commission draft Regulation aims to do is to strengthen the mandate of the EU border agency, to increase its competences and to better equip it to carry out its operational activities. The new tasks and responsibilities of the Agency need to be reflected by its new name. It coordinates its work alongside the European Fisheries Control Agency and European Maritime Safety Agency with regard to coastguard functions.
The permanent staff of the Agency will be more than doubled between 2015 and 2020. The new proposal provides for a reserve of European border guards and technical equipment. The Agency will be able to purchase its own equipment (this is not a novelty). However - and this is new - the Member States where this equipment is registered (this refers mainly to big equipment items such as patrol vessels, air crafts, etc. which need a flag of state) will be obliged to put it at the Agency's disposal whenever needed. this will make it possible for the Agency to rapidly deploy the necessary technical in border operations. A rapid reserve pool of border guards and a technical equipment pool will be put at the disposal of the agency, intending to remove the shortages of staff and equipment for the Agency's operations.

A monitoring and risk analysis centre will be established, with the authorisation to carry out risk analysis and to monitor the flows towards and within the EU. The risk analyses includes cross-border crime and terrorism, process personal data of persons suspected to be involved in acts of terrorism and cooperate with other Union agencies and international organisations on the prevention of terrorism. A mandatory vulnerability assessments of the capacities of the Member States to face current or upcoming challenges at their external borders will be established. The Agency is able to launch joint operations, including the use of drones when necessary. The European Space Agency's earth observation system Copernicus provides the new Agency with real time satellite surveillance capabilities alongside the current Eurosur border surveillance system.

ember States will be able to request joint operations, rapid border interventions, and deployment of the EBCG Teams to support national authorities when a Member State experiences an influx of migrants that endangers the Schengen area. In such a case, especially when a Member State’s action is not sufficient to handle the crisis, the Commission will have the authority to adopt an implementing decision that will determine whether a situation at a particular section of the external borders requires urgent action at the EU level. Based on this decision, the EBCGA will be able to intervene and deploy EBCG Teams to ensure that action is taken on the ground, even when a Member State is unable or unwilling to take the necessary measures.

The right to intervene is a point of contention between a number of EU Members and the Commission, especially those Members whose borders form the external borders of the EU, such as Greece, Hungary, Italy, and Poland. They want to ensure that intervention is possible only with the consent of the Member States, whose external borders necessitate the presence of the ECBGA. Greece’s Alternate Minister for European Affairs, Nikos Xydakis, stated in an interview that while Greece is supportive of a common European action and of changing Frontex’s mandate, it wants the ECBGA to take complete charge of migration and refugee flows.

Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

The first six F-16 from Portugal will arrive in Romania

Tue, 09/27/2016 - 19:54

The first six upgraded F16 aircraft will arrive in Romania over from Portugal on Wednesday, September 28. The aircraft have been upgraded, have new engines and were painted in several shades of gray.

The F-16s have had their engines changed and went through a process of modernization, called mid-life upgrade – improvements at the mid-cycle of operations.
The Romanian pilots that will operate the F-16s were trained by the Portuguese specialists. After two years of training at the basis of Monte Real, our air forces have nine F-16 pilots and 80 engineers and technicians who will handle the maintenance of these aircraft.

Three years ago, Romania decided to buy twelve F-16 aircraft from the Portuguese Air Forces to replace part of its fleet of Russian built MiG-21 Lancer fighter aircraft. The initial intent was to buy 24 airplanes, but the final decision was for 12, for budgetary reasons. Beside the F16, offers were made by companies producing the JAS-39 Gripen and the Eurofighter Typhoon, the offers being for new aircraft. Furthermore, the offer for French Dassault Rafale planes was analyzed.

The aircraft package includes nine upgraded Portuguese Air Force F-16MLU aircraft, and three former US Air Force aircraft supplied to Portugal for the resale under the US Excess Defense Article program. The Portuguese military procurement agency DGAIED will buy those latter three F-16s and have the Portuguese Air Force upgrade them to the F-16 Mid Life Update (MLU) standard with assistance of OGMA-Indústria Aeronáutica de Portugal prior transfer to Romania.

The price for the 12 F16 aircraft was set at 628 million euro, the planes going on to be stationed at the air bases in Fetesti and Campia Turzii, two airbases especially modernized for this type of aircraft.

However, experts say that Romania needs 48 multirole aircraft, meaning four squadrons. In 2015, Romanian authorities announced the intention to buy other F16 airplanes.
Minister of Defence Mihnea Motoc stated in February that Romania intends to buy another 12 F16 airplanes.

Tag: F-16Romania
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

India signed an agreement to buy 36 Rafale from France

Fri, 09/23/2016 - 14:35

French Defence Minister Jean-Yves Le Drian has signed an agreement with his Indian counterpart Manohar Parrikar in New Delhi, putting an end to nearly 18 months of negotiations on the financial market conditions. According to the biggest agreement never signed by Dassault, India buys from France 36 Rafale fighter built by Dassault Aviation, for an amount close to € 7.87 billion.
This is the first big purchase of fighter by India since twenty years. Negotiations were difficult because India wanted to have also a transfer of technology, the broadest possible, but airplanes will be built in France.

The first devices are scheduled for delivery in 2019. The contract covers 264 Indian total Rafale today sold 180 to the French army - of which 146 had been delivered on June 30 - 24 in Egypt and 24 in Qatar . The first success of Dassault concerning Rafales for the sale was an agreement with Egypt; in 2015. Egypt shall already received 6 aircraft, the first delivery to Qatar is scheduled for 2018.

India already has Dassault Mirage-2000 fighters in service, and are know-how of service requirement of French fighters. This helps in logistics as well as fighter training. Rafale is more suited for multi-role combat like Typhoon and PAK-FA air dominance fighters. Rafale has distinct adventage in Air to Ground attack, role which is vital for IAF. The Rafale cost about 20% less than Thyphoon. The maintenance cost is also significantly lower. Rafale life cycle cost is 40 million USD less than of the Typhoon.

Jean-Yves Le Drian en Inde : des Rafale et des... von libezap

Le ministre de la Défense français Jean-Yves Le Drian a signé l'accord avec son homologue indien Manohar Parrikar à New Delhi, mettant ainsi un terme à près de 18 mois de négociations sur les conditions financières du marché. Selon l`accord le plus important jamais conclu par Dassault, l'Inde achète de la France 36 avion de combat Rafale construits par Dassault Aviation, pour un montant proche de 7,8 milliards d'euros.
C'est le premier gros achat de chasseurs par l'Inde depuis une vingtaine d'années. Cela faisait une vingtaine d'année que l'Inde n'avait pas effectué un tel achat de chasseurs. Les négociations étaient difficiles car l`Inde souhaitait aussi le transfert de technologie le plus large possible, mais ces avions seront construits en France.

Les premiers appareils devraient être livrés en 2019. Le contrat indien porte à 264 le total des Rafale aujourd'hui vendus : 180 à l'armée française - dont 146 appareils avaient été livrés le 30 juin - 24 à l'Égypte et 24 au Qatar. Le premier succès de Dassault concernant la vente des Rafales a été un accord conclu avec l`Egypte en 2015. L`Egypte a déjà reçu 6 appareils, la première livraison pour le Qatar est prévue pour 2018.

L'Inde possède déjà des avions Dassault Mirage-2000 en service, et ont le savoir-faire pour les avions de combats français. Cela aide à la logistique ainsi qu`à la formation pour le combat. Le Rafale est plus adapté pour le multi-rôle combat comme Typhoon et PAK-FA, combattants de dominance en air. Rafale a advantage distinct à l`attaque air-sol, rôle vital pour l'IAF. Le Rafale coûte environ 20% moins que le Thyphoon. Les coûts d'entretien sont également significativement plus faibles. Le coût du cycle de vie d`un Rafale est de 40 millions de dollars moins que celui du Typhoon.

Tag: IndiaRafale
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Ancien SG du SEAE sur les migrants

Tue, 09/13/2016 - 00:00

Selon ancien Secrétaire général exécutif du SEAE (Service européen pour l'action extérieure), Pierre Vimont, "construire des murs face aux flux de migrants va se révéler inefficace". En tout cas il ne propose aucune alternative...

Tag: Pierre VimontSEAEmigration
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

France picks German-made Heckler&Koch 416 assault rifle to replace FAMAS

Sat, 09/10/2016 - 20:11

The HK416 assault rifle of the German company Heckler & Koch was chosen by the General Directorate of Armaments (DGA) to replace the FAMAS, as part of the call for tenders for the individual weapon of the future (AIF). The five manufacturers who submitted bids (Heckler & Koch, FN Herstal, Beretta, Sig Sauer and HS Produkt) were recently informed of this choice by François Cojan, head of the purchasing department at DGA says indeed the newspaper, which specifies that the decision was taken after a final series of tests conducted this summer. Normally, the market, which is the delivery of 90,000 assault rifles, will be officially notified by the end of this year. The value of the 10-year contract is estimated to be around €300 million.

The choice of the HK416 is not very surprising since this assault rifle is already used by the French military, especially by the Special Forces and Air Force, the latter having already selected in 2009 to replace the FAMAS. However, and while many politicians from right and left, have recently discovered that the arms factory of Saint-Etienne did not exist, we could think that the contract of AIF would benefit a company installed France, which would have been charged to maintain.

However, this was only possible with at least two bidders: Beretta, which has entrusted this task to the company Humbert, located in the Loire, and FN Herstal, who had accepted a partnership in this direction with Nexter Mechanics, whose workshops from Tulle are understaffed activity.

The FAMAS (French: Fusil d'Assaut de la Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne) designated in the French army as an "assault rifle 5.56mm model F1 MAS" is a French assault rifle 5.56 × 45mm NATO caliber bullpup type originally manufactured the arms factory of Saint Etienne. Ordered and commissioned in the 1970s by the French army, the FAMAS responded to the desire of a powerful tactical weapon, small footprint and that is also easy to use and maintain. Replacing the MAS 1949-1956 FSA rifle caliber 7.5 mm and the submachine gun MAT 49 caliber 9 × 19mm Parabellum, the FAMAS suppressed and the old organization pair.

The HK416 is interesting because this weapon was developed from the standardised M4 at the US Army. The M4 is based on the AR-15 developed by german H&K in 2001. The fact that the american weapon is the base is not a surprise because the AR-15 was prepared to the US Army tender to replace the M16-M4 platform. In December 2009, a modified version of the HK416 was selected for the final testing in the Infantry Automatic Rifle program, designed to partially replace the M249 light machine gun at the squad level for the United States Marine Corps. The Norwegian Army conducted an extensive evaluation before selecting the HK416 as its new primary firearm. The Turkish company Makina ve Kimya Endustrisi Kurumu ("Mechanical and Chemical Industry Corporation") has considered manufacturing a copy of the HK416 as the MKEK Mehmetçik-1 for the Turkish Armed Forces.

From outside the outer apparence of HK416 looks like a M4, but it has a redesigned retractable stock that lets the user rotate the butt plate, and a new pistol grip designed by H&K to more ergonomically fit the hand. More important changes are inside. Germans thrown out the most criticized part of the M4, the direct impingement gas system. This component is replaced by an other reliable system applied by several others weapons produced by H&K : the short-stroke gas piston system derived from the Heckler & Koch G36 assault rifle.

Furthermore, an adjustable gas block with piston allows reliable operation on short-barrelled models, with or without a suppressor attached. Finally, the HK416 includes a folding front sight, and a rear sight similar to the G3. The HK416 system is offered as an upper receiver, separate from the rest of the rifle, as a replacement to the standard issue M4 upper receiver.
The main difference is that by the direct impingement gas system the flowing back gas in the gun operate the filling and emptying processes, the german solution replace it by a short way moving gas piston.

Le fusil d’assaut HK416 de la firme allemande Heckler & Koch aurait été choisi par la Direction générale de l’armement (DGA) pour remplacer le FAMAS, dans le cadre de l’appel d’offres portant sur l’arme individuelle du future (AIF). Les cinq industriels ayant remis des offres (Heckler&Koch, FN Herstal, Beretta, Sig Sauer et HS Produkt) ont été récemment avertis de ce choix par François Cojan, le chef du service des achats à la DGA, affirme en effet le journal, qui précise que la décision a été prise à l’issue d’une ultime campagne d’essais réalisée cet été. Normalement, le marché, qui porte sur la livraison de 90.000 fusils d’assaut, sera officiellement notifié à la fin de cette année.

Le choix du HK416 n’est pas très surprenant dans la mesure où ce fusil d’assaut est déjà utilisé par les militaires français, en particulier ceux des forces spéciales et de l’armée de l’Air, cette dernière l’ayant déjà sélectionné en 2009 pour remplacer le FAMAS. En revanche, et alors que plusieurs responsables politiques, de droite comme de gauche, ont découvert récemment que la Manufacture d’armes de Saint-Étienne n’existait plus, l’on pouvait penser que le contrat des AIF allait profiter à une entreprise installée en France, laquelle aurait été chargée d’en assurer la maintenance.

Or, cela n’était possible qu’avec au moins deux soumissionnaires : Beretta, qui aurait confié ce soin à l’entreprise Humbert, implantée dans la Loire, et FN Herstal, qui avait accepté un partenariat allant dans ce sens avec Nexter Mechanics, dont les ateliers de Tulle sont en sous-activité.

Le FAMAS (Fusil d'Assaut de la Manufacture d'Armes de Saint-Étienne) désigné au sein de l’armée française en tant que « fusil d'assaut de 5,56 mm modèle F1 MAS », est un fusil d'assaut français de calibre 5,56 × 45 mm Otan de type bullpup, initialement fabriqué par la Manufacture d'armes de Saint-Étienne. Commandé et mis en service dans les années 1970 par l'armée française, le FAMAS répondait au désir d'une arme tactique puissante, d'encombrement réduit et qui soit également facile à utiliser et à entretenir. Remplaçant le fusil FSA MAS 1949-56 en calibre 7,5 mm et le pistolet mitrailleur MAT 49 en calibre 9 × 19 mm Parabellum, le FAMAS supprimait ainsi l'ancienne organisation binôme.

Tag: Heckler & KochFAMAS
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Massive leak of French Scorpene Submarine`s secret documents

Fri, 08/26/2016 - 00:00

The French shipbuilder was the victim of a massive leak of confidential technical information about the Scorpene submarines. Countries customers affected by this scandal, are Malaysia and Chile, each with two submarines, India and Brazil who chose technology transfer for six and four submarines.

Newspaper The Australian has published on its website excerpts of 22400 pages of various documents collected. The three documents would be sensitive but unclassified and would cover the period 2010-2011. The texts include strategic information such as technical manuals and models of underwater antennae. They describe the probes of the vessels, communication systems, navigation. In addition, 500 pages are devoted exclusively to torpedo system.
Informations were revealed about :
- data on sonar capabilities
- noise generated by submarines
- magnetic, electromagnetic and infra-red datas
- details of the combat system

The data seen by The Australian includes 4457 pages on the submarine’s underwater sensors, 4209 pages on its above-water sensors, 4301 pages on its combat management system, 493 pages on its torpedo launch system and specifications, 6841 pages on the sub’s communications system and 2138 on its navigation systems.

The data could have been blown away outside France in 2011 by a former French naval officer who at the time was a DCNS subcontractor. The documents could have been sold to Southeast Asian companies before being sent to Australia. The fact that leaks occur in Australia is not a coincidence. In fact it can affect the contract 34.3 billion awarded in April by Canberra to the French manufacturer, for the next generation of submarines, while negotiations are underway to distribute manufacturing sites between the two countries. Australia has chosen another model derived from the French oceanic submarine Barracuda, two times bigger than the Scorpene.

The competition was fierce to win the largest defense program in the history opposing the French DCNS to German TKMS and the consortium formed by Japanese Mitsubishi Heavy Industries and Kawasaki Shipbuilding Corporation. The French therefore provide twelve Shortfin Barracuda buildings conventionally powered and non-nuclear. Sign of the strategic importance of this program, the procedure was punctuated by multiple cyberattacks. According to Australian media, Russians and Chinese would have tried to get hold of the plans of the future submarine.

However you must know that the submarine that Australians are building with the French is called Barracuda, and it is totally different from the Scorpene designed for the Indian navy. The submarine is French, but the combat system is provided by the Americans. Recently, in the Indian Ocean, French Navy became the most important naval ally of Washington, before the British Navy.

Document 1
Document 2
Document 3

(Source : Le Monde, 25/08/2016)

Tag: BarracudaScorpèneIndian NavyAustralian Navy
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

EUCAP Sahel Niger: new head of mission

Wed, 07/27/2016 - 09:53

"On 26 July 2016, Mrs. Kirsi Henriksson, a senior diplomat from Finland, was appointed Head of the European Union mission in Niger, EUCAP Sahel Niger. She will take up her duties on 1 September 2016. She will replace Mr Filip de Ceuninck who had been in the position since 2013.

EUCAP Sahel Niger was launched in 2012 to support capacity building of the Nigerien security actors. The mission provides advice and training to support the Nigerien authorities in strengthening their security capabilities. It contributes to the development of an integrated, coherent, sustainable, and human rights-based approach among the various Nigerien security agencies in the fight against terrorism and organised crime. On 18 July 2016 its mandate was amended to also assist the Nigerien central and local authorities as well as the security forces in developing policies, techniques and procedures to better control and combat irregular migration.

Since 2014, Ms Henriksson has been the Deputy Head of Mission for EUCAP Sahel Mali. She has a background both from civilian CSDP, Crisis Management Centre Finland, Ministry of Interior and from academia. She has previously held positions such as: Acting Chief of Staff EUBAM Libya (May-Aug 2014); Head of Planning and Evaluation, EUBAM Libya (2014); Planning and Evaluation Officer, EUBAM Libya (2013-2014); Rule of Law expert, Evaluation and Best Practice Officer, EUJUST LEX Iraq (2010-2011); Head of Development, Crisis Management Center Finland (CMC Finland), Ministry of the Interior (MoI) Research CMC Finland, MoI (2007); Researcher and lecturer at the Department of History and Jean Monnet Centre of Excellence, University of Tampere, Finland (1996-2006). She speaks Finnish, English, French, Swedish, German, and has a basic knowledge of Arabic.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee."

(European Council - Press Release)

Tag: EUCAP Sahel NigerKirsi Henriksson
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

EUCAP Nestor: new head of mission

Tue, 07/26/2016 - 00:00

"On 26 July 2016, Ms Maria-Cristina Stepanescu, a senior police officer from Romania, was appointed Head of the European Union mission on regional maritime capacity building in the Horn of Africa, EUCAP Nestor. She will take up her duties on 1 September 2016. She takes over from Acting Head Simonetta Silvestri.

This civilian CSDP mission forms part of the EU's comprehensive approach to fighting piracy in the Horn of Africa, alongside the EU Naval Force Somalia and the EU training mission for Somalia. EUCAP Nestor works to reinforce the capacity of Somalia to effectively govern its territorial waters in order to help them fight piracy more effectively. This includes advice, mentoring and training for the coast guard, maritime criminal justice system and coastal police.

Since February 2010, Ms Stepanescu has been a Seconded National Expert/Police Expert to the Civilian Conduct and Planning Capability (CPCC)/EEAS. She has previously held positions such as: Head of the Cooperation - Single Point of Contact/Schengen Department (2008-2010); Head of Programme Development and coordination Department (PDCD), European Union Police Mission in Bosnia and Herzegovina, Sarajevo (2005-2007); Policy Officer with the Institute for Research and Crime Prevention, within the General Inspectorate of Romanian Police, Ministry of Interior (2002-2004); Chief Investigator of Gracanica Police Station/Team Leader of Trafficking in Human Beings and Prostitution Unit, Serious and Organised Crime of Pristina Regiona, UN Mission in Kosovo (2000-2002); Policy officer, General Inspectorate of Romanian Police (1998-2000); Intelligence/CID officer, General Inspectorate of Romanian Police (1994-1998).

She has a Masters degree in Sociology and Social Sciences/Implementation of community Justice from Bucharest University, Romania (2000-2002) and a Law Degree from Alxandra Ioan Cuza Police Academy, Bucharest, Romania (1990-1994). She speaks Romanian, English and French.

The decision was taken by the Political and Security Committee."

(European Council - Press Release)

Tag: EUCAP NestorMaria-Cristina Stepanescu
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP


Sat, 07/16/2016 - 00:00

Today (16 July 2016), the EU training mission of the Central African Army (EUTM RCA) was launched, with a two-year mandate.
The mission is to provide advice and training but also to bring its military expertise to the EU Delegation, in particular to set up more general projects. Its role is defined according to three priorities:
1.) strategic advice to the Ministry of Defense, military personnel and the armed forces of the CAR;
2.) Lessons for FACA officers and non-commissioned officers and FACA training.
3.) It also brings "expertise in the military field, in the field of security and the rule of law" to the EU delegation in the Central African Republic "within the limits of its means and capabilities".

Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

EU`s emergency plan in case of a terrorist attack

Fri, 07/15/2016 - 00:00

... unfortunately it`s true...

Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

New EU Security Strategy

Sun, 06/26/2016 - 00:00

Shared Vision, Common Action: A Stronger Europe
A Global Strategy for the European Union’s Foreign And Security Policy

Categories: Blogroll, CSDP

Royal Navy Type 45 destroyers cannot take the heat

Sat, 06/11/2016 - 22:10

The UK then joined France and Italy in the Horizon-class class of air-defence destroyers frigate program; however, differing national requirements, workshare arguments and delays led to the UK withdrawing on 26 April 1999 and starting its own national project Type 45 destroyer. The class is primarily designed for anti-aircraft and anti-missile warfare and is built around the PAAMS (Sea Viper) air-defence system utilizing the SAMPSON AESA and the S1850M long-range radars. The Type 45 destroyers were built to replace the Type 42 (Sheffield class) destroyers that had served during the Falklands War, with the last Type 42 being decommissioned in 2013.

The six Type 45 Daring Class destroyers, which cost the taxpayer £1bn each, are the backbone of Britain’s combat force at sea and are among the most advanced missile destroyers in the world. They are the Royal Navy’s first all-electric ships and are driven by two Rolls-Royce WR21 gas turbines and two Wartsila diesel engines. The WR21 is designed to deliver significantly improved operating costs by using an intercooler recuperator, which recovers exhaust and recycles the gas into the engine. But, as a rule, power turbines slowed down in warm temperatures.

But the engines powering the Royal Navy’s cutting-edge fleet are unable to operate continuously in the warm waters of the Gulf. Responding to questions about why the power systems failed in warmer waters than the UK, John Hudson, managing director of BAE Systems maritime, said the original specifications for the vessel had not required it to sustain extremes. “The operating profile at the time was that there would not be repeated or continuous operations in the Gulf,” he said.
Tomas Leahy, of Rolls-Royce naval programmes, said the destroyer was now operating in “far more arduous conditions than envisaged in the specifications”. “This is not the fault of the WR21,” said Mr Leahy. “It is the laws of physics.”

But the Type 45 was designed for worldwide operations from sub-Arctic to extreme tropical environments and continues to operate effectively in the Gulf and South Atlantic all year round. It also emerged that some of the difficulties were rooted in late-stage design changes demanded by the US Navy, when it was leading development of the electric propulsion system. However, the US Navy pulled out of the programme in 2000, when it was taken over by the UK’s MoD. Mr Leahy said that only 1,900 hours of testing had been carried out on the system after the design change, while the problems only emerged after 4,000-5,000 hours of operation.

“With hindsight it would have been good to do another 4,000-5,000 hours of testing on it,” he said. The MoD is having to set aside tens of millions of pounds to fix the destroyers. The plan is to install two extra diesel engines which will require cutting a hole in the hull of the brand new destroyers. The costs of repairing the Type 45 were forcing a delay in the Type 26 frigate programme. Original plans were for the first steel to be cut on the frigates by the end of this year, but this is now not likely before December 2017. The government had already weakened the Royal Navy’s capabilities by cutting the number of frigates that would be ordered from 13 to eight in last year’s strategic defence and security review.

The Type 45 uses a pioneering system called Integrated Electric Propulsion (IEP). There are many advantages associated with IEP, fuel efficiency, flexibility in locating the engines and a supposedly reduced maintenance and manning requirement. In basic terms, two WR-21 gas turbines (GTs) and two Wartsila 2MW diesel generators provide AC power for the motors that propel the ship as well as the power for the ships systems – weapons, sensors lighting etc. The WR-21 GTs were designed in an international partnership with Rolls Royce and Northrop Grumman Marine Systems. The turbines are of a sound design but have an intercooler-recuperator that recovers heat from the exhaust and recycles it into the engine, making it more fuel-efficient and reducing the ship’s thermal signature. Unfortunately the intercooler unit has a major design flaw and causes the GTs to fail occasionally. When this happens, the electrical load on the diesel generators can become too great and they ‘trip out’, leaving the ship with no source of power or propulsion.

The MoD has not revealed how frequently these blackouts have occurred but the first 2 ships, HMS Daring and HMS Dauntless seem to have suffered the most. The first indication of problems was as far back as 2010 when it was admitted HMS Daring lost all power in mid-Atlantic and had to be repaired in Canada. Although the Type 45s have been active, some significant commitments have been missed. An indication that all is not well could be seen by the number of Type 45s alongside in Portsmouth at any given time during the last few years. Historically the RN has never been a fleet of ‘harbour queens’ and today’s over-worked navy can ill-afford unreliable ships. HMS Daring entered service in 2009, it has taken more than 6 years to agree to deal with the problem and it will probably be well after 2020 before the work is completed. It is obviously dangerous from a seamanship and navigational point of view to suddenly lose propulsion at any time. It is even more serious when operating in a high threat environment as the ship would be a sitting duck.

Replacement of the WR-21 GTs is not a practical option. Instead additional or more powerful diesel generators will provide long-term redundancy and assurance that electrical supplies can be maintained in the event of GT failure. The good news is that the large Type 45 design has the space and reserve buoyancy to cope with larger or additional diesels. The rectification work on the six ships will be done one by one as part of the normal major refit cycle. This will extend the length of the refits but should not have an especially dramatic effect on frontline availability.

It is ironic that the RN is suffering with propulsion problems, having had a great history of propulsion innovation and success. The steam turbine was a British invention and in HMS Dreadnought (1906) was the first capital ship to use this leap in propulsive power. The steam turbine drove the majority of major warships for the next 60 years. HMS Amazon (1974) was the first all-GT warship and British engines were subsequently exported to many foreign navies. Much of the world-renowned expertise in naval GT design was derived from an obscure and secretive facility, the Pyestock National Gas Turbine Establishment at Farnborough which tested & developed marine and aero engines until it was closed in 2000. One of Pyestock’s last projects was some of the initial development of the WR-21 done in partnership with Rolls Royce and Northrop Grumman. Reliance on computer modelling signalled the end for Pyestock but with hindsight perhaps there is no substitute for ‘real world’ testing. It is interesting to note that recently Rolls Royce opened a brand new testing facility for the WR-21 and the MT-30 GTs (Which will power the QE aircraft carriers and Type 26 frigate).

There are growing signs that frustration with industry in the MoD has reached breaking point. The Type 45 propulsion problems are just one of many expensive problems with major defence contacts. The cost over-runs of the Astute class submarine have led to Whitehall creating a special project office to manage the Trident Successor submarines and failures will be met with harsher financial penalties. The surprise emergence of the alternative frigate programme, in addition to the Type 26, is also a sign of disillusionment with late, expensive and flawed offerings from BAE Systems.


Tag: Royal NavyType 45
Categories: Blogroll, CSDP