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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German frigate successfully intercepts Houthi attack UAVs in Red Sea

by Kate Tringham & Alex Pape

Hessen is pictured departing Wilhelmshaven naval base on 8 February to join the EU's new maritime security mission to protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea. (Bundeswehr/Julia Kelm)

The German Navy's Type 124 Sachsen-class air-defence frigate FGS Hessen (F 221) successfully repelled two one-way attack unmanned aerial vehicles (UAVs) in the Red Sea launched by Yemen-based Ansar Allah (commonly known as the Houthis) militants on 27 February.

Briefing media at a German government press conference on 28 February, German Federal Ministry of Defence (MoD) spokesperson Michael Stempfle confirmed that the UAVs were launched in two separate attacks on the evening of 27 February.

The first UAV was detected by Hessen at 2000 h local time and was successfully intercepted shortly after using the ship's onboard 76 mm gun. The second UAV was detected 20 minutes later and was successfully engaged using the ship's RIM-116 Rolling Airframe Missile (RAM) short-range defence system, he said.

“They were detected by the radar system and were at different distances,” he said. “That's why there were two different weapons that were used.”


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Greek frigate Hydra departs for Red Sea to join Operation ‘Aspides'

by Kate Tringham

The Hellenic Navy's frigate Hydra is pictured at Salamis Naval Station prior to departing for the Red Sea on 26 February. (Hellenic MoD)

The Hellenic Navy has despatched its lead Hydra (MEKO 200 HN)-class frigate to the Red Sea where it will participate in the European Union's (EU's) new maritime security mission Operation ‘Aspides'.

The EU officially launched Operation ‘Aspides' on 19 February to help protect commercial shipping in the Red Sea and Gulf of Aden from the ongoing attacks by Iran-backed Ansar Allah (commonly known as Houthis) militants in Yemen.

Hydra (F 452) set sail from Salamis Naval Station near Piraeus, Athens, bound for the Red Sea on 26 February, the Greek Ministry of Defence (MoD) said.

The ship's departure follows a decision by the Greek government earlier that day to formally approve a proposal for the country to participate in and lead ‘Aspides', in addition to sending a Greek frigate.


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IMH 2024: UK launches much-delayed second half of NMH procurement process

by Gareth Jennings

The UK government has formally launched the second half of the NMH procurement process to replace the Puma HC2, with the release to industry of the invitation to negotiate on 27 February. (Janes/Patrick Allen)

The UK government has launched the second half of its New Medium Helicopter (NMH) programme to replace the Airbus SA 330E Puma HC2 in military service.

Speaking at the IQPC International Military Helicopter (IMH) 2024 conference held in London from 27 to 29 February, Minister of State for Defence Procurement at the Ministry of Defence (MoD) James Cartlidge formally kick-started the invitation to negotiate (ITN) phase of the procurement process after several months of delay, saying on 27 February that this would now be released to the competing contenders.

News of the release of the ITN to the industrial bidders came days after Cartlidge told the House of Commons on 13 February that “positive progress” was being made in the NMH effort to replace the Puma HC2s with up to 44 new rotorcraft, and that final cross-government approval was anticipated imminently.


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The EU’s new goal of creating a so-called initial entry force for rapid expeditionary deployment to ...

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