Awacs | Ministry of Defence | Written Answers

To ask Her Majesty’s Government how many Royal Air Force E-3D aircraft are operational.

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Antiship Missiles | Ministry of Defence | Written Answers

To ask Her Majesty’s Government what are the reasons for the early withdrawal from service of the Harpoon anti-ship missile from Royal Navy Type 23 Frigates and Type 45 Destroyers; what alternative is available; and when that alternative will be available.

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Defence: Expenditure | Ministry of Defence | Written Answers

To ask Her Majesty’s Government  what recent representations they have made to other members of NATO about the need to reach and maintain the agreed minimum of two per cent per annum of gross domestic product to be spent on defence.

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Armed Forces: Capability – <i>Motion to Take Note</i> | Lords debates

My Lords, it is a privilege to follow such well-informed speeches as the three that have launched the debate. In particular, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Robertson, on introducing the debate. He spoke with great sincerity and sometimes considerable passion.

As I remember, Phileas Fogg had 80 days to go around the world; four minutes will not allow me any kind of tour d’horizon, so I will confine myself to a number of propositions that underpin my views on defence. Some have already been hinted at in the debate

First, Russian ambition will be emboldened by the military, political and diplomatic success it has enjoyed in Syria. Some months ago, the noble Earl who will respond to the debate expressed reservations when I described some behaviour and achievement on the part of Mr Putin as being game and first set. I hope he will excuse me if I say that it is not that any more: it is game, set and match in Syria.

The transatlantic alliance is essential for the security of Europe and for the United Kingdom, whether we are inside or out of the European Union. Every effort must be made to convey to the new Administration in the United States that it is not just Europe’s interest that is served by that relationship but that of the United States as well. I believe that the United States would be more likely to be persuaded in the way I suggested if every European member of NATO were urgently to achieve the minimum—as has been pointed out—target of 2% of GDP per annum on defence spending.

In the face of Russian ambition, Europeans can no longer get defence on the cheap. It is an interesting reflection that whereas the term “burden-sharing” used to be used when one went to Washington, the assessment of Europe’s contribution is now expressed in—shall we say—more trenchant and less suitable terms for this debate.

Proposals for a European army in the circumstances are not credible, because they would inevitably create duplication and divert necessary expenditure from the main thrust of NATO. If European members want to increase their contribution to NATO, they can best do so—again, this was hinted at by the noble Lord, Lord Robertson—by adopting the principles of force specialisation, interoperability and common procurement. Remember, it is not how much you spend, it is how you spend it. It is necessary that NATO—and Europe, given some of the remarks that have come out of the United States—is able to provide a full spectrum of capability.

Two developments ought to attract our attention most particularly. The first is the deployment by Russia of nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad. The second is the report that Russian generals have now endorsed the use of battlefield nuclear weapons—eerie echoes, one might think of the Cold War. These developments, in my judgment, underline beyond question the conclusion that deterrence is best provided by both conventional and nuclear means, all as set out in NATO’s strategic concept.

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Armed Forces: Capability – <i>Motion to Take Note</i> | Lords debates

My Lords, it is a privilege to follow such well-informed speeches as the three that have launched the debate. In particular, I congratulate the noble Lord, Lord Robertson, on introducing the debate. He spoke with great sincerity and sometimes considerable passion.

As I remember, Phileas Fogg had 80 days to go around the world; four minutes will not allow me any kind of tour d’horizon, so I will confine myself to a number of propositions that underpin my views on defence. Some have already been hinted at in the debate

First, Russian ambition will be emboldened by the military, political and diplomatic success it has enjoyed in Syria. Some months ago, the noble Earl who will respond to the debate expressed reservations when I described some behaviour and achievement on the part of Mr Putin as being game and first set. I hope he will excuse me if I say that it is not that any more: it is game, set and match in Syria.

The transatlantic alliance is essential for the security of Europe and for the United Kingdom, whether we are inside or out of the European Union. Every effort must be made to convey to the new Administration in the United States that it is not just Europe’s interest that is served by that relationship but that of the United States as well. I believe that the United States would be more likely to be persuaded in the way I suggested if every European member of NATO were urgently to achieve the minimum—as has been pointed out—target of 2% of GDP per annum on defence spending.

In the face of Russian ambition, Europeans can no longer get defence on the cheap. It is an interesting reflection that whereas the term “burden-sharing” used to be used when one went to Washington, the assessment of Europe’s contribution is now expressed in—shall we say—more trenchant and less suitable terms for this debate.

Proposals for a European army in the circumstances are not credible, because they would inevitably create duplication and divert necessary expenditure from the main thrust of NATO. If European members want to increase their contribution to NATO, they can best do so—again, this was hinted at by the noble Lord, Lord Robertson—by adopting the principles of force specialisation, interoperability and common procurement. Remember, it is not how much you spend, it is how you spend it. It is necessary that NATO—and Europe, given some of the remarks that have come out of the United States—is able to provide a full spectrum of capability.

Two developments ought to attract our attention most particularly. The first is the deployment by Russia of nuclear-capable missiles in Kaliningrad. The second is the report that Russian generals have now endorsed the use of battlefield nuclear weapons—eerie echoes, one might think of the Cold War. These developments, in my judgment, underline beyond question the conclusion that deterrence is best provided by both conventional and nuclear means, all as set out in NATO’s strategic concept.

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