Top News

Factbox - Possible defence cuts around the EU

July 28 (Reuters) - The biggest post-war cuts to Germany’s armed forces may bring Europe closer to a joint defence policy.

With governments across Europe considering slashing tens of billions of euros from their defence budgets, major projects are under scrutiny for possible cancellation or cutting.

Here are details of some of the reported possible defence cuts or military projects that could be affected.


-- The German Defence Ministry is looking to save up to 9.3 billion euros (7.6 billion pounds) on procurement projects when it finalises defence cuts this autumn.

-- A preliminary report has recommended big cuts in orders for the NH90 transport helicopter and the Tiger combat helicopter manufactured by EADS. Germany has complained about delays and performance problems with both helicopters.

-- Germany may also abandon the purchase of the last partial tranche of 37 Eurofighters or resell the planes, and abandon the purchase of the Franco-German-Spanish Talarion EADS drone.

-- The number of A400M military transport aircraft may also be reduced and 15 Transall transport planes taken out of service immediately. Under the proposal, Germany would buy only 80 NH-90 helicopters instead of the planned 122 and halve the number of new Tiger attack helicopters to 40.

-- The 23-page document recommended placing no orders for EADS’s Talarion UAV and instead ordering Saateg AA Male drones.

-- The number of Tornado fighter planes in the air force should be cut to 85 from 185 as quickly as possible, it said.


-- The government is pushing a comprehensive defence review, which concludes in the autumn, making it clear that military budgets will come under particular pressure.

-- The Ministry of Defence (MoD) has said all hardware programmes are under review as part of an effort to reduce its 36.9 billion pound budget deficit by what analysts say could be up to 15 percent. Programmes under scrutiny include:

-- Eurofighter Typhoon combat jets, made by Britain’s BAE Systems, Italy’s Finmeccanica and European aerospace group EADS.

-- Britain has ordered 160 of the 70-million-pound planes, but analysts say it may scrap plans to buy an additional 48.

-- Britain has already cut its order for the delayed and over-budget EADS-built A400M transport plane to 22 from an original 25. The project will be part of its defence review.

-- Business Secretary Vince Cable has submitted a cost analysis of a 10.5 billion pound military air tanker deal to officials conducting the defence review. Cable said he was concerned about the contract to lease 14 converted Airbus A330 tanker aircraft to the Royal Air Force (RAF). -- Orders for Lockheed Martin Corp’s F-35 Joint Strike Fighter (JSF) could also be vulnerable.

-- Some analysts say that Britain may opt to buy cheaper French Rafale fighters built by Dassault, perhaps as part of a deal with France on a British air-to-air refuelling project.

-- Britain could opt to have just one new aircraft carrier, instead of the planned two. Britain could also opt to reduce its nuclear-armed Trident submarine fleet to three from four, or to extend the life of the current fleet.


-- France will make defence budget savings of 3.5 billion euros in 2011-2013, a source familiar with the matter said. The cuts would not affect contracts involving Rafale planes, Fremm frigates, VBCI armoured vehicles, Barracuda submarines, Felin infantry combat systems or France’s A400M programme.

-- Both France and Italy have decided to buy fewer Fremm Multipurpose Frigates designed by DCNS/Armaris and Fincantieri.


-- Greece has come under pressure from neighbours to cut defence spending to tackle its yawning budget deficit. The Greek defence ministry has said this year’s defence budget was set at 2.8 percent of GDP, down from 3.1 percent in 2009.

Reporting by David Brunnstrom, Tim Hepher, Sabine Siebold, Adrian Croft, Mohammed Abbas; Additional writing and editing by David Cutler, London Editorial Reference Unit