Ukraine conflict: Invasion will boost US defence budget, lawmaker says

by Marc Selinger

The US Capitol building in Washington, DC. (Getty Images)

Russia's invasion of Ukraine will spur the US to spend more on defence than previously thought, according to the chairman of the US House Armed Services Committee.

Although Representative Adam Smith, a Washington state Democrat, has not decided what the fiscal year (FY) 2023 defence budget top line should be, he believes the US Department of Defense (DoD), “without question”, will need more resources to help protect US allies in Eastern Europe.

“The Russian invasion of Ukraine fundamentally altered what our national security posture and what our defence posture needs to be,” Smith told the Washington, DC-based American Enterprise Institute (AEI) on 3 March. “It made it more complicated and it made it more expensive,” he added.

Smith said that any FY 2023 increase should be accompanied by steps to make the overly bureaucratic DoD more efficient to ensure the money it receives is well-spent. The Biden administration is expected to send its FY 2023 budget request to Congress as early as this month.

The FY 2022 National Defense Authorization Act, which Smith's committee helped write, supports a total of USD777.7 billion in defence funding, including USD740 billion for the DoD and USD27.8 billion for national security programmes at the Department of Energy.

Smith's comments came three days after Senate Minority Leader Mitch McConnell, a Kentucky Republican, urged the Democratic administration to include at least a 5% increase for defence above inflation in its FY 2023 budget request.

While Congress awaits the FY 2023 request, it is considering the administration's new USD10 billion FY 2022 supplemental funding request for Ukraine-related security, humanitarian, and economic assistance.

The 56-page supplemental request, which the administration released on 3 March, contains USD4.8 billion for the DoD to support troop deployments in Eastern Europe and replenish stocks of military equipment provided to Ukraine. The deployment funds would cover various efforts, including cyber security, intelligence analysis, transportation of equipment and personnel, and weapon system sustainment and upgrades.

The proposed supplemental request also includes USD500 million for the Department of State to provide military assistance to Ukraine and other countries affected by Russia's invasion, and USD21 million for the Department of Commerce to bolster export controls for dual-use technology.

The administration has committed USD1 billion in security assistance to Ukraine during the past year.

US Army conducts Iron Dome flight test

by Ashley Roque

The US Army conducted its second live-fire test with Iron Dome at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico. (US Army)

US Army soldiers recently used Rafael Advanced Defense Systems' Iron Dome during a live-fire test against cruise missile threats, the Israel Missile Defense Organization (IMDO) announced on 2 August.

The service acquired two Iron Dome batteries as an ‘interim' cruise missile defence capability following a congressional mandate. However, the service has not yet fielded the weapon and is continuing to test it out.

During the recent test at White Sands Missile Range in New Mexico, soldiers from the 3rd Battalion, 43rd Air Defense Artillery Regiment “successfully” detected, tracked, and intercepted multiple cruise missile and unmanned aerial system surrogate targets, according to the IMDO.

“This is the second interception test since the two batteries were supplied to the US Army at the end of 2020,” IMDO Director in the Israeli Ministry of Defense Moshe Patel said in the statement. “In this test as well, the system intercepted all the threats, while being interoperable with US systems.”

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Australia launches review into future military capability

by Julian Kerr

Janes forecasts that Australia's total military expenditure will expand strongly through this decade. (Janes Defence Budgets)

Australia has announced a sweeping defence strategic review that will urgently examine the posture, preparedness, and structure of the country's military and spending on new weapons and equipment from 2023–24 to 2032–33 and beyond.

Announcing the review on 3 August, Prime Minister Anthony Albanese said it would be headed by “independent leads” comprising Air Chief Marshal (retd) Angus Houston, defence force chief from 2005 to 2011, and Stephen Smith, defence minister from 2010 to 2013.

The review will be informed by intelligence and strategic assessments, and input will be drawn from internal and external experts, consultations with senior personnel, and submissions from interested parties, said Albanese.

Although recommendations are to be delivered to the government no later than March 2023, Albanese and Defence Minister Richard Marles have requested an interim report as soon as the independent leads have completed their initial analysis.

While the review's terms of reference do not mention China, they state that the world is undergoing “significant strategic realignment”.

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Rolls-Royce sale of ITP Aero clears last regulatory hurdle

by Marc Selinger

ITP Aero is part of the Eurojet consortium, which builds and maintains the EJ200 engine for the Eurofighter Typhoon. (Eurojet)

Rolls-Royce's proposal to sell Spanish subsidiary Industria de Turbo Propulsores (ITP Aero) to a consortium has received Spanish government approval, completing the regulatory review process and paving the way for the EUR1.7 billion (USD1.7 billion) transaction to close “in the coming weeks”, the British engine manufacturer announced on 3 August.

The deal was approved by the Board of Foreign Investments of the Spanish Ministry of Industry, Trade and Tourism and the Spanish Council of Ministers, according to a Rolls-Royce spokesperson. “This follows the approval of all other relevant regulatory authorities,” the spokesperson added.

ITP Aero builds commercial and military aircraft engines and has about 4,300 employees. The buyers are led by US-based Bain Capital Private Equity and include Spanish financial services firm JB Capital Markets, and Spanish defence contractor SAPA.

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