12 Jun 13. So many countries, with so many aerospace companies! Visitors shouldn’t be fooled by the panoply of European companies displaying at the Paris Air Show next week. The harsh truth is that there’s not enough money to sustain them all, especially with respect to defense technology. The European Defence Agency (EDA) commissioned a study of the problem–and reached some alarming conclusions.
“Some important industrial capabilities are already at risk…If measures are not taken, a point of no return will be reached within the next few years,” the Future Air Systems For Europe (FAS4Europe) study warned. It was led by Saab, with the cooperation of 28 other companies and industry associations in 10 countries. Although many of the companies are direct competitors, they share a common concern for the future, according to Katarina Bjorklund of Saab. The study called for the member states of the European Union to agree on a strategic plan to preserve the European Defence and Technological Industrial Base (EDTIB). “China, Russia and the U.S. have clear strategies, but so also do Brazil, India, Korea and Turkey,” claimed Bjorklund.
The study outlines a three-phase roadmap: keeping options open (2013-17); preparing for the future (2017-22); and establishing a competitive EDTIB (2022 onward). A set of projects are specified for the first two phases, but the EDA has not made them public, perhaps because of competitive sensitivities within European industry. The classic example is, of course, combat aircraft. The Dassault Rafale, Eurofighter Typhoon and Saab Gripen are often in competition for the same export orders. “This is a very bad situation,” said EDA chief executive Claude-France Arnould during a press conference at the ILA Berlin airshow last September. Arnould voiced particular concern that undesirable technology transfer offers are being made. Furthermore, she said that European defense companies should not rely on export markets to help fund and develop new capabilities. It won’t work because purchasers are reluctant to introduce capabilities that the home countries don’t themselves operate. The EDA also commissioned a “dependency” study that charted Europe’s growing reliance on outside capabilities. The study was done by the French Aerospace laboratory, the Rand Corp., and Swedish consultancy FOI. According to the EDA’s industry analyst John Mattiussi, this study highlighted the lead that Israel and the U.S. has taken in unmanned aerial systems, and U.S. dominance in heavy-lift helicopters. He said European air arms can wait 72 months to replace the gearbox of a CH-47 Chinook because the U.S. military takes priority for spares. He also drew attention to the F-35 purchase by up to six European countries. Compared to an indigenous European program, “will the F-35 provide the same quality of work?” he asked. Moreover, “it will be very expensive to operate, and its life-cycle costs will reduce the funds available for other programs,” he added.
The EDA said European sovereign military capability is at risk, along with some 200,000 high-technology jobs that are at risk in an industry which currently enjoys a €45bn turnover. “We must address these issues at the highest levels–the defense ministers,” said Arnould. (Source: Google)
12 Jun 13. EADS North American will not be able to achieve a previous goal of $10bn in business by 2020 barring the merger with another firm, the company’s head said Wednesday. “Absent an acquisition or a merger, it sure doesn’t look like that’s going to happen,” Sean O’Keefe, the chairman and CEO of EADS North America, said of the $10bn goal during a meeting with reporters on Wednesday. Europe-based EADS tried to merge with defense giant BAE Systems last year, however, plans were dropped after the governments of Germany, France and Britain could not agree on the terms of the deal. That said, EADS is still looking for merger or acquisition prospects, O’Keefe said. (Source: Defense News)