European naval rearmament

Until a few months ago, Western Europe lived in the illusion of a world in which peaceful coexistence with Russia it was possible; many politicians on the old continent continued to believe that with Putin it was possible to do good business and even that military cooperation was to some extent desirable and even possible, so it was included in the NATO agenda. The voices calling to beware of an autocratic politician, a professional liar and a totally unscrupulous leader were a minority. For many, doing business with Russia was ensure peace with this vast and powerful country, without noticing the trivial question of the existence or not of democratic conditions within the very vast borders of that country. The lack of democracy and justice for the Russian people, in these political and economic calculations, it did not carry much weight.

The disgraceful war launched by Putin against Ukraine fell like a bucket of cold water and rudely woke up many politicians who had innocently watched Putin not only preparation for warbut announced it publicly in two speeches, notably in 2007 and 2014. The fundamental ideas were reiterated in his address on Monday, February 21, days before invasion of Ukraine: Russia you want to restore old tsarist and soviet borders, spanning from the Baltic Sea to the Pacific Ocean, in “Eurasia” under Russian auspices. Complaints about military expansion of NATO in the East, on corruption in Ukraine (“the donkey that talks about ears”), the existence of “Nazis” in the Ukrainian government, the alleged ambition of said government to arm itself to attack Russia, among other things, were nothing more than a pretext for try to justify yourselfinside and outside your country, a attack completely unjustified.

This war brought Putin some impact unexpected by him, very serious because of their scope. One of them is strengthening NATO; whom many now believed to be dead, so that Europe seemed to wake from a sleep and suddenly find it necessary to arm herself to defend herself against the tyrant whom she believed she could control by keeping her happy with business and dialogue. Countries such as Switzerland, Finland and Sweden were suddenly confronted with their respective concepts of “neutrality” and they suddenly felt threatened. Others, such as Baltic Republicstheir old fears of being invaded by the powerful neighboring state were confirmed. Germanywhich he had overlooked defense sector for at least several decades, it also realized that it had gone down the wrong path, so in a “historic overhaul” it made a 180-degree turn in its defense policy, which is why it committed a huge amount of money to re-strengthen its armed forcesin the context of a European defense who has already identified, correcting, his current enemy: Putin. Much of Japanese public opinion has also changed its pacifist approach in the face of Russian aggression in Ukraine, even though that country’s governments have never stopped investing – and heavily – in national defensein part because of the explosive geopolitical context in which it finds itself Japanwith rather inconvenient neighbors: China, North Korea and Russia.

We are now witnessing, unfortunately, a a new arms race, considering the fact, sadly demonstrated, that not everyone respects others. Putin, for example, only understands the language of power, so I consider him completely useless negotiate with him, because negotiating and trying to reach agreements with a liar gets us nowhere. Unfortunately, the words of a great cynic echo in our minds, but he was a connoisseur of human nature, in his own way, Alphonse Gabriel Capone (Al Capone), when he said: “You get more with a smile, a handshake and a gun than just a smile and a handshake.” We don’t believe that multipolar worldsolutions should be exclusively those suggested by weapons, but what we are now discussing is a fact: European countries they are rearmamentfear of the Russian threat.

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So Europe is once again preparing to defend itself. On July 20 last year, European Commission announced that it will provide the member countries with the sum of more than one billion euros to support 61 community projects in defense matters. These projects are related to the research and development of ground weapons (like armored battle tanks, for example), airy (fighter planes) and sea (like the new European Corvette). These are, broadly speaking, the next generation of fighter jets, tanks and warships and then some aspects of defense technologyfrom the development of new fabrics and fibers for military uniforms, artificial intelligence, semiconductors, space exploration, and cyber and medical defense measures (Cyber ​​and medical countermeasures).

This fund to promote community protection projects aims to strengthen the integration of European defense industry, which in turn will enable innovation and modernization of the armed forces. According to Thierry Breton, Commissioner for the Internal Market, this defense fund will make cooperation in this area the norm under the motto that money is better spent when it is spent by everyone. It is envisaged that all members of the European Union will benefit from these projects and the funds available for their launch.

Some of these projects were already underway, such as “European Patrol Corvette” (European patrol corvetteEPC) which started in 2021 when a consortium was formed under the leadership of some of the largest companies dedicated to the defense sector in Europe: Italian Fincantierion French Naval Group and on Spanish Navantiawhich usually compete with each other, but now, in this community project, joined forces to present the project for a modular patrol ship, the size of a corvette (a ship smaller than a frigate). The project is worth about 60 million euros, which for now is focused on reaching a first design, so that this multifunctional modular corvette will serve as a benchmark for a class of ships that may be able in the near future to undertake many missions.

Participation in this important project Italy as a leader France, Spain, Greece, Portugal (as an observer), Denmark Y Norway. The patrol corvette resulting from this project should be an intelligent, innovative, flexible, affordable, interoperable and powerful vessel capable of undertaking various missions by the middle of this 21st century. What a small shipmust be able to operate in the second line and maintain power projection and naval supremacy, but must also participate in non-military taskssuch as the fight against piracy and organized crime in its various manifestations, controlling migration, humanitarian aid, maritime security, etc.

It will be a real technical achievement to get this corvette covers so many requirements, but the vast experience of the shipyards involved is a guarantee that the project will succeed. The basis will be A “standard” Fincantieri corvette, about 100 meters long and with a displacement of 3,000 tons, which in the near future will replace several classes of ships, from patrol boats to light frigates. You will need to address the needs of each of the parties involved: Italy and Spain they require a patrol vessel to replace those leaving active service; France requires a ship that can cover long distances due to its overseas territories; Y Greece requires a combat-capable ship to cover a certain deficit in the matter in its fleet. Nothing easy, the task…

What this example shows us is that the great defense projects are more easily developed if several partners are involved, in addition to generation, transfer and technology exchange They are of immense importance in the modern world. Only cooperation allows them to deal with projects that are necessarily expensive, but whose fruits are rich for all participants. Whoever remains outside these processes will take a long time to recover, will lose connection with technology more advanced and will require a huge effort on the part of the army to adapt to the novelties in the near future.

It doesn’t seem to affect it Mexican governmentwhich abandoned the very important project of continuing the construction of POLA type frigates, in collaboration with a Dutch company. The only frigate of its kind in service built in Mexico “Benito Juarez”, is actually intended to be the highest seed of 8 units, as we have explained on occasion in this space. in the name of one misunderstood severitythe government of self-styled 4T stopped the project.

This will mean, in the short, medium and long term, a heavy blow to the projects and capacity of Navy of Mexico and for the country in general, as it will stop developing own and transferred technologywe will continue to lack the capacity to protect our natural resources, generate high-level sources of employment, and it will take a lot of effort, time and money to restore things years from now, if we ever have more open and modern management. The same will happen with Air Forcewhich was left completely without means of air superiority as the F-5 fighters were now completely obsolete and was demoted to air transport service from the army. That’s a six-year term lost in terms of defense technology, the security of its inhabitants, and the effective protection of ours Natural Resources.

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