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Datum: 28/11/2018

In Spanje bouwen ze Saudi-Arabië’s oorlogsschepen maar wat graag

De moord op Khashoggi is heus erg, maar miljardendeals met de Saudiërs stopzetten, daar peinst Spanje niet over. De belangen voor de werkgelegenheid op de scheepswerf in Andalusië zijn te groot.

“Als ik werkelijk de mensenrechten kon beschermen door deze boten níet te bouwen nam ik morgen ontslag. Maar zo simpel ligt het niet”, vertelt ingenieur Enrique Martínez (61) uitkijkend over de baai van Cádiz in Andalusië. Achter de wapenopslag van de Spaanse marine staan de loodsen van Navantia, al ruim veertig jaar zijn werkgever.

De scheepsbouwer tekende begin november een belangrijk contract voor de bouw van vijf korvetten, kleine fregatten, voor Saudi-Arabië. Daar zijn 1,8 miljard euro en zesduizend directe- en indirecte banen mee gemoeid. Het is volgens persbureau Reuters het eerste militaire contract dat de Arabische hoofdstad Riyadh afsloot met een land sinds de geruchtmakende moord op de journalist Jamal Khashoggi door een Saudisch liquidatieteam.
Na de moord op de journalist in het Saudisch consulaat in Istanbul vorige maand kreeg het land felle internationale kritiek te verduren. Terwijl Duitsland en Noorwegen uit protest de (toekomstige) wapenexport naar Saudi-Arabië staakten, zette Spanje door. Waarmee het onder meer de lijn van de VS, het Verenigd Koninkrijk en Frankrijk volgt. De militaire industrie is belangrijk voor Spanje, dat volgens het Stockholm International Peace Research Institute in de top tien van ‘s werelds grootste wapenexporteurs staat.

Met zijn grijze baard, leren jack en Palestina-sjaal heeft Navantia-ingenieur Martínez meer weg van een vredesactivist dan een wapenbouwer. Zijn vakbond en hijzelf veroordelen bovendien onomwonden mensenrechtenschendingen waar Saudi-Arabië voor verantwoordelijk is. “Maar als Europa ons niet tegenhoudt, waarom zouden wij het dan aan de concurrent overlaten?”, zegt Martínez. “Ik hoop dat de Spaanse regering een even afgewogen keuze maakt over de wapenhandel met Saudi-Arabië als de professionaliteit die ik in bouw van de boten steek”.

Saudi-Arabië dreigde in september nog van de deal af te zien als Spanje niet over de brug kwam met vierhonderd bestelde precisiebommen. De linkse regering in Madrid dreigde de levering te bevriezen, vanwege het conflict in Jemen waar de Saudiërs bij betrokken zijn, maar haalde bakzeil. “Saudi-Arabië beschouwt de handelsrelaties als één geheel”, concludeerde de Spaanse minister van buitenlandse zaken Borrell. Want naast de korvetten-deal stond opeens ook de lucratieve hogesnelheidslijn, die mede door de Spaanse spoorwegen wordt aangelegd tussen Medina en de heilige stad Mekka, op de helling. Vrijwel de gehele lokale- en landelijke Spaanse politiek schaarde zich vervolgens zonder veel morren achter de korvetten-deal.

In de armlastige baai van Cádiz (600 duizend inwoners) is Navantia een van de belangrijkste werkgevers. De autonome regio Andalusië, waar de stad ligt, heeft ondanks de rap groeiende Spaanse economie een van de hoogste werkloosheidcijfers van Spanje. “Een lasser bij Navantia kan 1500 euro netto verdienen, dat is hier een regelrecht fortuin”, vertelt Paco Cuesta woordvoerder van vakbond CCOO.

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A Building Block in Enhanced European Defense Capabilities: The German-Norwegian Common Submarine Build

The Nordics are clearly working a way ahead for enhanced direct defense of their region.
And they are doing so within the context of a reworking of NATO capabilities for Northern European defense.

F-35 acquisition is one way the Norwegians are working this approach.
The common acquisition of submarines with the Germans is another.
Recently (November 27, 2018), the Norwegian Ministry of Defence announced that they had received a binding offer from the Germans on October 30, 2018 and are now working on the next phase of negotiations.

Norway and Germany will together negotiate a contract to procure six identical submarines. The commercial process towards the supplier has been ongoing since the summer of 2017, and the binding offer from ThyssenKrupp Marine as a basis of the next phase of negotiations.

The procurement agencies, Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) in Norway and Bundesamt für Ausrüstnung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw) in Germany, received the binding offer from the main supplier on the 30th of October 2018, and has begun a thorough joint evaluation of the offer.

“We will now go through the offer from the shipyard before the negotiations begin,”says Minister of Defence Frank Bakke-Jensen.

Norway and Germany will conduct joint negotiations towards the shipyard with the aim of reaching an agreement and signing a contract in 2019. Both nations expect the negotiations to be challenging.

Germany and Norway will procure identical submarines in the same timeframe. This will give synergies and savings throughout the lifetime of the submarines for both nations.

In addition to the submarine cooperation, the nations have established a Navy-to-Navy cooperation, Research and Development cooperation and a Missile cooperation.

In other words, the approach will provide new capabilities for Norway and enhanced capabilities for Germany and a deepened cooperation in working the key areas of common defense, like the Baltic Sea.
An article written by Thomas Nilsen and published in The Barents Observer on February 3, 2017 highlighted the importance of the deal.

Norway’s current fleet of six Ula-class conventional submarines reaches end of life by mid- 2020 to 2030 and will be decommissioned. In times-of-budget-cuts and disarmament in the years after the Cold War, one option considered for the Navy was to scrap the idea of having an own fleet of submarines.

Then Russia started to re-arm and modernize its Northern fleet vessels and weapons based on the Kola Peninsula bordering Norway on the Barents Sea coast. After scrapping 130 of its Cold War fleet of nuclear powered submarines, Vladimir Putin’s Russia is now building new multi-purpose and ballistic missile submarines at a speed not seen since the end of the 1980s. Eight new Borey-class, eight new Severodvinsk class, several new diesel-powered and other special purpose submarines are recently delivered to the Northern fleet or currently under construction.

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TKMS submits binding offer for Norwegian, German Type 212 submarine construction

A joint German-Norwegian project to procure common-design Type 212 air-independent propulsion submarines has made another step forward as ThyssenKrupp Marine Systems (TKMS) – the preferred contractor on the project – submitted its binding offer in October this year.

As disclosed by the Norwegian government, the two countries’ procurement agencies, Norwegian Defence Materiel Agency (NDMA) and Germany’s Bundesamt für Ausrüstnung, Informationstechnik und Nutzung der Bundeswehr (BAAINBw), received the binding offer from the main supplier on October 30, 2018, and have begun a joint evaluation of the offer.

The two countries will subsequently enter into joint negotiations with the shipyard with the aim of reaching an agreement and signing a contract in 2019. Should all go according to plans, the first boat will be delivered seven years after the construction contract is signed.

Norway and Germany are procuring six identical Type 212 CD (common design) submarines after TKMS was selected as the preferred bidder in February 2017. French submarine specialist Naval Group also participated in the Norwegian tender but the proposition of acquiring the submarines jointly with Germany likely tipped the decision in favor of Germany’s TKMS.

The German Navy already operates six vessels in the class. The same type of submarine is in service with the Italian Navy.

Norway is acquiring four air-independent submarines to replace the existing six Ula-class submarines that were commissioned between 1989-1992. The submarines were designed to last for 30 years and will reach the end of their life in the mid-2020s. The country has also brought in UK-based BMT Defence Services (BMT) as a consultant in the project.

Lees verder op Navaltoday.com

Consolidate or become obsolete, German official tells European arms makers

BERLIN (Reuters) – European weapons makers to consolidate, the German government’s armaments director said on Wednesday, and warned that failing to reduce the continent’s fragmented defence industry could make Europe obsolete.

Arms makers need to move beyond mere cooperation agreements and deepen ties, Benedikt Zimmer told hundreds of industry executives and military and government officials at the Berlin Security Conference, and said the drive was supported by the top levels of the German government.

“You can call me a dreamer, but if we don’t get it done, we are on the best way to making Europe obsolete,” Zimmer said. The German call for consolidation is significant — it was the German government that in 2012 blocked the merger of Britain’s BAE Systems and Airbus, worried that it could result in the loss of high-paying jobs. Mergers in sensitive areas such as defence must be approved by national governments and European Union authorities, so a green light from Germany could help stimulate more M&A activity, industry executives said.

In a separate speech in Berlin, German Finance Minister Olaf Scholz echoed Zimmer’s comments, saying European Union member states should work together more closely on arms procurement to save money and become more effective. Mergers would also have to occur, he said.

“It’s no secret: There will be and there must be consolidation in the European armaments industry,” Scholz said. Scholz, a member of the Social Democrats, who often oppose exports of German arms, said a unified European approach would also ease pressure on companies to export their goods to sometimes problematic buyer countries outside Europe.

Lees verder op Euronews.com

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