In our October 2005 article “EU Defense Ministers Take Initial Steps to Open Up Arms Competition,” DID pointed to the EU’s European Defense Agency, its radical push for greater integration in Europe’s defense industry, and its less radical approach to greater cooperation on transnational European defense procurement programs. DID covered the issues of stricter European Commission enforcement, narrowed exemptions from open European defense contracts under EU Article 296 ‘national security interests’ clause, the local political interests that will make this a difficult row to hoe, the offsetting role lower defense spending is playing in fostering integration, and the underlying rivalry with NATO that cannot entirely be hidden.
A recent EDA release notes that the new European defence equipment market will be launched on 1 July, with the participation of all but three of the 25 EU Member States…
Lockheed Martin and EADS Astrium announced that they have signed a teaming agreement to ensure interoperability of the Global Positioning System (GPS) III and the European Galileo Satellite Navigation programs. The two companies will perform systems engineering and technical assistance tasks for each other in the areas of interoperability, integrity and optimization of joint constellation performance. Additionally, the companies will offer reciprocal bids on operational hardware and software within the policy and export constraints of both programs.
Navstar Constellation: GPS Block IIA, IIR/M, IIF
“This opens a new dimension of cooperation between two of the world’s leading technology companies in systems that will benefit consumers for decades as the Galileo and GPS III systems come on line,” said Reinhold Lutz, EADS Senior Vice President for Earth Observation, Navigation & Science.
Industry analysis and research firm Frost & Sullivan says the European strategic military communications market is being driven by the need to reduce R&D costs, leading to reliance of militaries on commercial R&D and commercial off-the-shelf technology (COTS). This trend is, also encouraging non-defence firms to step into the European strategic military communications market, while intensifying competition can also be expected from their U.S counterparts via their advanced technology and foothold in areas like Eastern Europe.
The firm believes that European militaries’ increasing focus on expeditionary operations, and network-centric warfare (NCW), and the increasing bandwidth of sensor transmissions, will drive market expansion. The sector’s overall revenues are expected to rise from an estimated $1.91 billion in 2005 to $2.56 billion in 2014. The MILSATCOM segment, which currently represents 50% of market revenues, is projected to grow strongly with estimated earnings of $1.36 billion in 2014.
For more background, including some key projects that went into this forecast, sector technology trends, plus comments regarding the role of software defined radio, see Frost & Sullivan’s corporate release and their European Strategic Military Communications Markets (F233-22) brochure.
DID has covered the performance of Britain’s Harrier IIs before, and also Britain’s procurement trend toward “Future Contracting for Availability,” i.e. all-encompassing, performance-based lifecycle maintenance contracts. Now Flight International reports that BAE Systems is to receive a GBP 400 million ($706 million at current conversion) availability-based contract to provide support for the UK’s Harrier II GR9/9A (most advanced AV-8B counterpart) until the type leaves service around 2018.
The Joint Availability Support Solution (JASS) deal will apparently be agreed with prime contractor BAE by May 2007, following the completion of an assessment phase launched in July 2005. The contract will reportedly have BAE oversee the in-service support of “repairable avionics, structures, general systems components and consumable articles” for the 60-aircraft GR9/9A fleet, while Rolls-Royce will receive a contract to support the Harriers’ Pegasus engines. See Flight International for further details, and DID’s June 2007 coverage for the follow-up.
DID has been undertaking ongoing coverage of some of the debates within Europe regarding the future of its defense industries, and of the growing weakness in its defense posture. The European Parliament recently voted on the EU 2006 Budget, and once again reduced the European Commission’s proposed allocation of EUR 24 million for the Preparatory Action for Security Research (PASR) program to EUR 15 million. This move follows a similar reduction in the 2005 budget allocations. These efforts constitute the European Commission’s contribution to the wider EU agenda for addressing key security challenges facing Europe and her partners.
In 2004 and 2005, the set security priorities included protection of networked systems, protection against terrorism, enhancing crisis management, interoperability and integrated systems and improving situation awareness. The new AeroSpace and Defence Industries Association of Europe (ASD) strongly protested these cuts. The ASD is being formed in a merger of AECMA, the European Association of Aerospace Industries; EDIG, the European Defence Industries Group; and EUROSPACE, the association of the European space industry. It’s industry consolidation already!
TopSat is a low cost, high capability micro-satellite designed and built by a QinetiQ-led consortium of British companies. After some initial launch delays, it was successfully launched on October 27, 2005 from the Plesetsk launch site in Northern Russia, along with micro-satellites from China, Iran, and Russia. The launch was the culmination of a project that began in 2000 and was jointly funded by the British National Space Centre (BNSC) and the UK Ministry of Defence.
TopSat is attracting increasing interest from international government and commercial interests because it’s designed to provide 2.5 meter resolution imagery at about 20% of the cost of larger satellites with similar capabilities. It is part of Britain’s larger Micro Satellite Applications in Collaboration (MOSAIC) program.
DID recently covered a major defence-related report from the transatlantic CSIS think-tank, and EDA head Nick Whitney’s response to that report helps underline the overall thrust of his agency’s efforts. As he noted, in the midst of a generally positive reaction to CSIS’ document:
Now, European Union defence ministers have agreed on a new plan that appears to advance Whitney’s aims on the bureaucratic front. Discussions will begin on Nov. 21, 2005 re: attaching a code of conduct to this agreement – and that’s precisely where things are likely to get interesting.