Europe is rearming: What military giants of the continent are investing in?

Author : Tomas Augustsson

Source : Svenska Dagbladet

The Russian aggression of Vladimir Putin and the American indifference of Donald Trump towards NATO are pushing Europe to arm itself spending billions of dollars. So what the military giants of the continent and Russia's most aggressive neighbors are investing in?
21:30, 29 May 2017

Read original article at Svenska Dagbladet

112 Agency

Germany: the world's fourth arms exporter

The German defense industry is on the fourth place in the world in terms of arms exports. Since 2016, its home sales are also growing, in 2017 by as much as 7%, along with a 10% increase in equipment investment.

If Germany complies with NATO requirements to spend 2% of GDP on defense, this budget by 2024 will be estimated at 75 billion more than with the current 1.2% of GDP. The main problem is that no one knows how it can invest so much money in such a short time.

The new frigates MKS 180 is a deal worth over 4.5 billion euros. In fact, they should have been ordered much earlier. But negotiations with the producers involved in the tender, including ThyssenKrupp, were delayed. As well as buying and upgrading 100 Leopard-2 tanks, an order worth almost 800 million euros, which was hampered in 2015.

One of the largest deals for a long time is the order of 131 Boxer armored personnel carriers, manufactured by Rheinmetall and Krauss-Maffei Wegman, the leaders of the German defense industry. The cost of the order is almost half a billion euros.

The most important arms deal in Europe will be a future German-French tank with the working name of the Main Ground Combat System which will challenge the Russian "supertank" T14 Armata. It’s development is in full swing, but the first tanks will not start their service until 2030.

France: arms exports are aiming for a record

A nuclear power with global interests, and after Brexit also the only EU country with a permanent mission in the UN Security Council, France is a serious military power with a wide range of defense enterprises leading in this industry in the world.

With supplies worth more than 20 billion euros, according to former defense minister Jean-Yves Le Drian, the country's arms exports are aiming for a new record. Australia ordered submarines from DCNS, India - Rafal fighters, manufactured by Dassault.

Orders for large supplies are now being received from the French defense department. For example, according to the Scorpion program, which involves the purchase of a total of 1,668 Griffin armored vehicles and 248 Jaguar light tanks. Given that the funding will be provided in full, we will talk about the amount of up to five billion euros.

Another large-scale deal is the order of five frigates of a new class, the so-called Belharra, which produces DCNS, while Thales supplies radars and electronics. Price tag is 3.8 billion euros.

Related: Putin arrives in Paris for meeting with Macron

At the same time, France continues to order Rafali, 28 new fighters since 2021.

French President Emmanuel Macron wants to raise the defense budget to 2% of GDP by 2025. The military command wants to achieve this goal already in 2022.

Great Britain: investing in all at once

The UK invests in everything from aircraft carriers to nuclear-powered submarines. One of its biggest investments is in the aircraft carrier of the Queen Elizabeth class, capable of accommodating 40 aircraft, for an amount of more than five billion pounds. These ships also represent one of the largest pan-European joint projects involving British companies BAE Systems and Babcock International, as well as the French Thales.

Another major investment is the planned replacement of four Trident submarines as part of the British nuclear deterrence program. The costs are estimated at 225 billion pounds for the entire lifetime.

With its defensive budget of almost 40 billion pounds, the United Kingdom belongs to those few NATO countries that fulfill the condition of the alliance for the deduction of 2% of GDP for defense. In 2016, at the top of the rating for this parameter was the United States, followed by Greece and Estonia.

Prime Minister Teresa May, during the election campaign, promised to increase spending by 0.5% per year, taking inflation into account. This will happen after several years of decline in real terms and against the background of the 2016 budget for half a billion pounds smaller than in 2010.

Poland: the biggest investor in Eastern Europe

Poland invests much more than other Eastern European countries in modernizing its defense. Anxiety about the actions of Russia forced Polish politicians in the last 15 years increase defense spending by 75%.

But there are still a lot of gaping "holes" in the defense of the country that need to be fixed. About 70% of weapons remained from Soviet times, and barely a third of equipment and technique meet NATO standards.

According to Mats Andersson, the Swedish military attaché in Warsaw, Poland now primarily relies on five areas. They want to have a new air defense and are negotiating, like Sweden, to buy an American Patriot anti-missile system.

In addition, they are building up militia forces and developing cyber defense. They also want to buy new ships and vehicles for the army. Of the 952 tanks they have, there are only 247 modern tanks.

Sweden hopes to sell new submarines to Poland. But the process is very sluggish, although the decision actually should have been made three years ago.

Polish politicians also want to use their own defense industry to contribute to the overall economic development of the country.

"One can understand the course of their thoughts, but, nevertheless, this complicates the establishment of cooperation and causes a lot of restrictions that they impose, requiring that their domestic enterprises should be more involved in the work," says Mats Andersson.

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