On 13 July, the German Federal Ministry of Economic Affairs informed the Munich-based arms industry company Kraus-Maffei Wegmann that it is licensed to produce 100 self-propelled howitzers for the Ukraine. A company spokesperson confirmed the approval on 27 July to Der Spiegel. The howitzers are of the type Panzerhaubitze 2000 (PzH 2000) and, when signed, the deal is expected to cost €1.7 billion. Since the agreement concerns freshly produced PzH 2000s and not a donation from the existing Bundeswehr inventory, the delivery could take several years. Germany has currently handed over ten howitzers to the Ukraine from its ranks. This brings the total of PzH 2000s in Ukrainian service to 23, following similar Dutch and Italian deliveries.
Boosted by the current UE’s geopolitical context, this Regulation proposal echoed previous initiatives (the European Defence Industrial Development Programme, the Preparatory Action on Defence Research, and the European Defense Fund) and was shaped to complete them consistently. Those instruments aim to rethink the EU’s defence plans and capacities and enhance responsibility assumptions. The European Council triggered the EDIRPA Regulation initiative last May during the Versailles Declaration dating from 11 March (Informal meeting of the Heads of State or Government Versailles Declaration, 2022).
In recent years, the topic of hybrid threats has become increasingly critical until being considered the 21st security challenge. Whereas the concept of hybrid threats may be considered new, linked to the developments of new technologies, it is not. Many of the tools of hybrid warfare are old, with the main exception being represented by the ones belonging to the cyber realm. However, the development of new technologies boosted the use of old tools, such as propaganda, by lowering their costs. Undoubtedly, the new reality in which we live increases the effectiveness of hybrid threats, because their strength lies in the possibility of combining activities and tools from different arenas. For example, the changes in the information and media landscape made the domain appealing to state and non-state actors for disinformation activities.
On 25 July, the Hellenic Army received 90 M117 Guardian Armored Security Vehicles (TTOA-ASV) from the US. The vehicles have been sent in the framework of the American Excess Defence Articles (EDA) Program, with which the US transfers excess defence equipment to foreign governments or international organisations, thus enabling the modernisation of partner forces and strengthening the capabilities of the allies. Formally, vehicles declared EDA are no longer part of the US Army’s inventory. Greece already received an initial batch of 44 M117 ASV in 2021, and it expects to get a total of 1200 units by the end of 2022. As envisaged by the program, the Greek Army has received the vehicles at a meager cost, covering only the transportation expenses.
On 20 July, the Ministry of Defence of the Czech Republic announced having chosen the CV90 MkIV by BAE Systems Hägglunds as its new Infantry Fighting Vehicle (IFV). The decision comes after the Czech Government cancelled the tender to acquire over 200 new infantry fighting vehicles after two of the three bidders dropped their proposals (Rheinmetall’s Lynx KF41 and GDELS’ ASCOD 42). The Czech Ministry of Defence will thus start negotiations with the Swedish Government to acquire CV90 vehicles. As indicated by Czech Defence Minister Jana Černochová, the participation of the Czech defence industry in their manufacturing will remain a high priority in the negotiation process.