EU's proposed rapid reaction entry force faces many hurdles

by Brooks Tigner

The EU’s new goal of creating a so-called initial entry force for rapid expeditionary deployment to regions in crisis sounds good on paper but is fraught with thorny political, financial, and pragmatic problems that the 27 EU countries must resolve if the force is to see the light of day.

The EU’s proposed rapid reaction entry force faces political, financial, and pragmatic hurdles. (Getty Images)

The EU’s proposed rapid reaction entry force faces political, financial, and pragmatic hurdles. (Getty Images)

An EU diplomatic source told Janes on 10 May, “A ready-to-go insertion force would mean 24/7 standby troops and assets, which is expensive. Who would pay for that and what about strategic transport for standby? Europe doesn’t have enough for non-standby. It’s a long-term capability issue and they’re talking about a rapid reaction force in the foreseeable future?”

Proposed by 14 countries during a 6 May meeting of EU defence ministers in Brussels, the idea calls for a 5,000-strong force of land, air, and possibly maritime elements that would train and exercise together for deployment to crisis points in Africa and elsewhere. It could be approved as early as March 2022, Josep Borrell, the EU’s security and defence policy chief, told reporters after the meeting.


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IAV 2022: FN and Thales demonstrate RWS rocket capability

by Andrew Galer

FN Herstal has been working with Thales Belgium to demonstrate a guided rocket capability that could be added to the FN deFNder Remote Weapon Station (RWS) system.

Speaking at the International Armoured Vehicles (IAV) conference being held in London from 24 to 27 January, an FN spokesperson noted that proof of concept tests were initially conducted with Thales France in 2020 using a 68 mm unguided rocket, before they joined with Thales Belgium to use a 70 mm guided rocket in test firings in March 2021. This was understood to have used the Thales FZ275 and incorporated a semi-active laser seeker; the tests were reported to have achieved an accuracy of 1 m at a range of up to 7 km.

The rockets are launched from pods of two but, depending on customer requirements, could have a second pod added and are intended to complement the existing 12.7 mm machine gun and modular deFNder RWS. This will add precision and range from 2 km up to 7 km and therefore well beyond the machine gun's effective range.


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Russian Navy announces multiple exercises

by Tony Roper

The Irish Aviation Authority (IAA) announced on 21 January that it had received direct notification from the Russian Navy that the service intends to carry out live artillery and missile firing to the southwest of Ireland at the beginning of February.

“There will be a need to issue a notice to commercial pilots to warn them of this issue and there will be a closure of airspace,” it stated.

While exact details were not specified by the IAA, it indicated that the area was 240 km off the County Cork coast and was relatively small. Information of the notification leaked on social media shows that the area will extend up to 11,000 m in altitude (approximately 33,000 feet).

The area is in international airspace and is therefore not a penetration of any sovereign-controlled areas.

The IAA announcement follows a Russian Military of Defence (MoD) announcement on 20 January that, “In accordance with the training plan for the Armed Forces of the Russian Federation for 2022, a series of exercises will be held in January–February in the areas of responsibility of all fleets of the Russian Navy.”


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US imposes more sanctions on Chinese firms

by Jon Grevatt

The US government has imposed sanctions on subsidiaries operated by three of China's biggest defence-technology firms.

The State Department said on 21 January that the sanctions, which run for two years, are a response to the subsidiaries' “missile technology proliferation activities”.

The restrictions are imposed on the China Aerospace Science and Technology Corporation's (CASC's) First Academy and its sub-units; China Aerospace Science and Industry Corporation's (CASIC's) Fourth Academy and its sub-units; and Poly Technologies Incorporated (PTI) and its sub-units.

The sanctions consist of denials of licences to transfer US dual-use technologies to the entities; denial of all US government contracts to the entities; and a ban on US imports of products or technologies sourced from the subsidiaries.

In response, Chinese Ministry of Foreign Affairs spokesperson Zhao Lijian said at a news conference on 21 January that the sanctions were unfair.

“Out of political purposes, the US uses all sorts of pretexts to sanction and suppress Chinese enterprises,” he said. “This is typical bullying practice. China deplores and rejects it.”


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