Dassault and Airbus Agreed to Develop the Next Phase of the FCAS Programme.

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a collection of 17 elements composed of cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium, and yttrium. These elements are highly valued for their “conductive and magnetic properties” (Chang 2022). REEs are of vital importance to high-tech devices and their ability to function, including computer hard drives, telephones, televisions, and hybrid or electronic vehicles. Furthermore, rare earth metals (REM) are heavily used in the defence industry to integrate electronic displays, sonar, laser, and guiding systems into modern weaponry. Therefore, REM quickly became a strategic component for the defence industry’s supply chains, and, at the same time, embodied a geopolitical challenge to secure countries’ strategic autonomy regarding these precious materials. When looking at the main global suppliers of REEs, China finds itself in the first position, controlling around 80% of REE production (Kelemen & Stonor 2022). The recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait re-introduced the reality of Western REE dependency on China to the agenda. Washington finds itself in a difficult position regarding its industry’s reliance on China’s REEs. Therefore, Beijing’s dominance over such a strategic resource seriously undermines the West’s ability to impose economic sanctions on China. In the scenario of a confrontation between Washington and Beijing, China could decide to cut its REE supply to the US, which as a consequence could exhaust its stocks in “less than 90 days” (Kelemen & Stonor 2022).

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Rare Earth Metals and F-35 Supply Chain

Rare earth elements (REEs) are a collection of 17 elements composed of cerium, dysprosium, erbium, europium, gadolinium, holmium, lanthanum, lutetium, neodymium, praseodymium, promethium, samarium, scandium, terbium, thulium, ytterbium, and yttrium. These elements are highly valued for their “conductive and magnetic properties” (Chang 2022). REEs are of vital importance to high-tech devices and their ability to function, including computer hard drives, telephones, televisions, and hybrid or electronic vehicles. Furthermore, rare earth metals (REM) are heavily used in the defence industry to integrate electronic displays, sonar, laser, and guiding systems into modern weaponry. Therefore, REM quickly became a strategic component for the defence industry’s supply chains, and, at the same time, embodied a geopolitical challenge to secure countries’ strategic autonomy regarding these precious materials. When looking at the main global suppliers of REEs, China finds itself in the first position, controlling around 80% of REE production (Kelemen & Stonor 2022). The recent tensions in the Taiwan Strait re-introduced the reality of Western REE dependency on China to the agenda. Washington finds itself in a difficult position regarding its industry’s reliance on China’s REEs. Therefore, Beijing’s dominance over such a strategic resource seriously undermines the West’s ability to impose economic sanctions on China. In the scenario of a confrontation between Washington and Beijing, China could decide to cut its REE supply to the US, which as a consequence could exhaust its stocks in “less than 90 days” (Kelemen & Stonor 2022).

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Russia’s Rosoboronexport in Visit to DefExpo India 2022 for Joint Production of AK-203 Assault Rifles

According to the Financial Express Online, a special delegation from Rosoboronexport, the sole state agency for Russia’s export and imports of weapons and one of the leading actors in international arms trade, took part in the DefExpo India 2022 that was held from October 18th to 22nd in Gandhinagar (Siddiqi, 2022). The exhibition represented a formidable opportunity for the Russian delegates to discuss the future local production of Kalashnikov AK-203 assault rifles within the framework of the Indo-Russian Rifles Private Limited (IRRPL) (Orujie Rossii, 2022).

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Greece Develops its First Surveillance Drone Programme in Reaction to Turkey’s Bayraktar

The Greek skies will soon be dominated by the newly launched multipurpose Archytas drone. As geopolitical frictions with Turkey have reached a critical juncture in the Aegean Sea, Greek defence and security officials welcomed the development of the Archytas prototype with great enthusiasm in the face of the threat posed by the Bayraktar TB2 operating in Ukraine’s war. This is nothing new, as Turkish president Recep Tayyip Erdogan spares no instant in criticising Greece despite both countries being NATO members. But the past few years have been marked by a surge in territorial clashes and acts of intimidation, as territorial waters have been continuously contested by both sides since the 1970s. Such reasons might explain Greece’s decision to equip itself with a new generation of high-performance combat UAVs.

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14 NATO Allies, plus Finland, Agree to Develop the European Sky Shield Initiative

In response to the Russian war on Ukraine, neighbouring countries have decided to take concrete steps towards strengthening their air security. On October 13, 2022, fourteen NATO member countries, plus Finland, signed a Letter of Intent initiating the development of a “European Sky Shield Initiative” (NATO, n.d.). The European Sky Shield Initiative creates a joint defence system “through the common acquisition of air defence equipment and missiles by European nations” (NATO, n.d.). Furthermore, the project enhances interoperability between the countries and strengthens NATO’s Integrated Air and Missile Defence (NATO IAMD).

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