This Occasional Paper examines the efforts underway in the UK, France, Germany and the US to produce new combat aircraft and systems over the next fifteen to twenty years; sheds light on some of the challenges and drivers; and suggests some potential options for force optimisation
The UK is ‘back East of Suez’, British Foreign Secretary Boris Johnson declared earlier this month. However, while the British government is making the engagement with the Arab Gulf states a centrepiece of its foreign policy, Germany is also looking to strengthen its relationships in the region, albeit more cautiously and with less fanfare.
Germany’s interior minister Thomas de Maizière is set to announce new measures aimed at curbing terrorism after the Islamic State claimed two attacks in the country last month. Some may make a real difference, but many are intended to address the growing debate about the country’s immigration stance.
The likelihood of a second referendum designed to reverse the first referendum’s decision (as in the Republic of Ireland in 2009) remains very low in the UK, so the Brexit verdict seems irreversible. It also appears certain that the new prime minister, Theresa May, will eventually trigger Article 50 of the Lisbon Treaty, likely in September or October.
Leaked information to the German press alleges that the coalition government has reneged on a previous pledge to remove US tactical nuclear weapons from Germany. The subsequent reporting frenzy heightens the decades-long national anxiety over nuclear issues. But it seems no one has paused to ask whether the original allegations stand-up to scrutiny.