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NATO chief fears Europe trailing US on defence technology
by Staff Writers
Madrid (AFP) June 16, 2011

NATO Secretary General Anders Fogh Rasmussen Thursday called for greater cooperation within the alliance to bridge the gulf between the US and other NATO members on defence technology.

Rasmussen said he shared US concerns over the disparity in military spending between the US and Europe, but said the solution was "multinational cooperation" not bigger budgets.

"Technology is changing rapidly. And NATO's capabilities need to keep pace," he said in a speech to Spain's Senate entitled "NATO and the Mediterranean: the changes ahead."

"In our operation in Libya we have had to rely on some of the highly advanced military assets of the United States. Capabilities such as drones, intelligence and surveillance equipment, and precision weapons. Simply because no other ally has them available.

"I am not saying that each ally should have those high-end capabilities. But I would like to see more of them across our alliance. And that is why I am concerned about the low level of defence spending, especially in Europe."

Outgoing US Defence Secretary Robert Gates on Wednesday admonished NATO allies, saying shrinking military budgets put both the Libya mission and the alliance's future at risk.

Rasmussen warned of "a real risk that European allies will fall even further behind the pace of technological progress.

"This is why we need to change the way we spend our defence money. And this is why I am encouraging the idea of 'Smart Defence'.

"The 'Smart Defence' approach means doing together what we cannot do alone. It allows us to deliver better security for all. Not by spending more money. But by spending more time and effort on multinational cooperation and coordination.

"Many nations are unable to provide some of the high-tech equipment we need. If we encourage them to adopt multinational solutions, then they will be able to field capabilities together that they can't afford alone."

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France says sale of warships to Russia 'imminent'
Paris (AFP) June 16, 2011 - The signing of a contract for France to sell four Mistral-class aircraft carriers to Russia is "imminent," a French defence ministry spokesman said Thursday.

The comment by deputy spokesman Philippe Ponties came ahead of a visit by Russian Prime Minister Vladimir Putin to the Le Bourget air show in Paris, which opens on Monday.

"I do not know where or when but I can confirm that the signing is imminent," Ponties told reporters.

The two countries said last month they were poised to seal the deal after long and delicate negotiations over the price and the sharing of technology involved in the amphibious assault craft.

The deal has angered some of Russia's neighbours such as Georgia and Baltic states who fear an expansion of the military might of their former Soviet master.

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US Army Awards Lockheed Martin Contract for Precision Strike GMLRS Rockets
Dallas TX (SPX) Jun 16, 2011
Lockheed Martin has received a $445 million follow-on contract for Guided Multiple Launch Rocket System (MLRS) Unitary rockets from the U.S. Army Aviation and Missile Command. This is the U.S. Army's sixth purchase of the precision munition, with almost 2,000 GMLRS rockets fired in support of U.S. and allied military operations to date. The contract includes 735 GMLRS Unitary rocket pods ( ... read more

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