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Ukraine conflict: Danish procurement programmes delayed by war and Covid-19 pandemic

The Covid-19 pandemic and the Ukraine conflict delayed reinforcement of the unmanned aerial system capabilities of the Danish army's 1st Brigade. (Danish MoD/Mads Rolf Ahrenskjær)

Acting Danish Defence Minister Troels Lund Poulsen informed Denmark's Defence Conciliation Circle parliamentary group on 25 April that seven procurement programmes of the country's 2018–23 defence agreement will be delayed during the period it covers. He told the circle of parliamentarians who had voted for the defence agreement, “When many projects with tight schedules encounter Covid-19 and then have to be resolved in parallel with the crucial support for Ukraine, delays will occur.“ The Danish Ministry of Defence (MoD) said that the Covid-19 pandemic created delays in global supply, delaying deliveries and making recruitment and training more difficult. After this, lots of materiel had to be urgently acquired by Ukraine, and the Danish Armed Forces also required acquisitions to increase their readiness, according to the ministry.

The delays are in the following procurements: reinforcing the unmanned aerial system (UAS) capabilities of the Danish army's 1st Brigade, software for Denmark's special operations headquarters, a unit to lead air units during special operations, completion of the national operations centre, skills cards for conscripts, some cyber-security sub-elements of the armed forces, and optimisation of storage facilities.

The Danish MoD said the armed forces still expects to receive equipment to reinforce brigade-level UAS capabilities in 2023, but training can only be provided early, during the period covered by the 2024–29 defence agreement. The UAS will be used primarily for intelligence, surveillance, and reconnaissance. The Danish Defence Acquisition and Logistics Organization (DALO) released a tender in June 2020 for a NATO Class I (up to 150 kg) UAS.

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