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Frontex eyes drones to further war on immigration

Last September the European Parliament granted EU border control agency Frontex the right to purchase its own equipment, such as navy ships and helicopters. Up till then Frontex was depending on EU member states defence and police forces for its equipment. The decision of the European Parliament opened up new profit opportunities for the arms industry. While no orders so far have become public... read more >

New Dutch arms control legislation leaves transport sector untouched

A Dutch-flagged ship carrying US supplied weapons and explosives is feared to be on its way to Egypt, Amnesty International reported this week. While US authorities admit that the Dutch vessel is carrying US military cargo, they refuse to confirm the final destination or recipient of the weapons, citing security reasons. The US Navy however denies that the weapons will be offloaded in any... read more >

Taiwan's latest submarine plans: Dutch design?

Ever since George W. Bush in 2001 proposed to assist Taiwan in getting diesel electric submarines, the question of 'how and with whom' has puzzled analysts. As the US itself does not possess the relevant technology anymore (all their subs are nuclear powered) any assistance should come from abroad. In his book 'Joep!' Philip de Witt Wijnen describes how Dutch businessman Joep van... read more >

Garage sale for new drones

In a paper with the hilarious title "How to stop the demilitarisation of Europe" former European Defence Agency chief Nick Witney expresses his worries about the cuts in the  defence budgets of EU member states. Quoting outgoing US Defence Secretary Robert Gates, he warns for the “very real possibility of collective military irrelevance” of NATO, when Europeans continue... read more >

Dutch Defence minister has 'no morals' in tank deal with Indonesia

This week an Indonesian delegation, led by Army chief of staff general Edhie Widowo, is visiting the Netherlands to have a closer look at Dutch Leopard tanks, for sale since last year's austerity measures. When we first discussed the potential deal in November just a few details had emerged. Two months later the whole affair has become a major controversy, in both Indonesia and the... read more >

Ammunition for Syria no problem for Cyprus

Over the past weeks two cases of suspicious arms transit attracted international media attention. The first was the accidental catch in Finland of 69 Patriot missiles on board of the British-registered Thor Liberty in late December 2011. According to the bill of lading the ship was on its way to Shanghai, China from the German port of Emden. Heavy storms had forced it to stop in Kotka, Finland,... read more >

No lessons learned?

2011 obviously was a remarkable year, with the Arab Spring dominating world politics. Honouring those who went on the streets and sometimes risked their lives to speak out against their undemocratic, repressive and corrupt leaders, Time magazine made 'The Protester' person of the year. The protests in the Middle East and North Africa and especially their brutal suppression also hit back... read more >

State must increase support of strategic exports - says employers' association

Two days before a parliamentary debate on the Dutch arms export policy, FME employers' association president Ineke Dezentjé has a large interview in NRC daily newspaper  to complain about the difficult export situation of the Dutch (technological) industry. Dezentjé used to be Member of Parliament of liberal party VVD which preaches free market for every sector of the Dutch... read more >

Arms industry into climate change

While the outlooks for the Durban Climate Change Conference (Conference of Parties) are not hopeful, some see possibilities in the failing fight against climate change. The defence industry "could be one of the few beneficiaries from ecological catastrophes", according to journalist David Cronin, by "turning an environmental question into a security issue", "with global... read more >

Indonesia aiming for Leopard tanks

The Indonesian army has received a major budget boost to modernise its weaponry. As part of the programme the army has already agreed on the purchase of 100 Leopard 2 A6 tanks for which $280 million is available, according to Indonesian media sources. The Indonesian army is specifically looking at Europe where surplus equipment has become available in large quantities and relatively cheap. Many... read more >

Keep buying!

According to an internal document obtained by Reuters last month, Germany is planning to reduce its fighter jet and helicopter orders from the European aerospace company EADS. German defence minister Maiziere wants to cut 37 of 140 Eurofighter aircraft, to reduce an order for Puma armoured vehicles to 350 from 410 and halve an order for Tiger combat helicopters to 40. De Maiziere also wants to... read more >

Arms embargoes and business as usual - Libya and Indonesia

Now that NATO finished its air campaign in Libya, it will be a matter of weeks, maybe a few months, before we will hear the first calls for an end to the Libya arms embargo. With many military installations bombed to pieces and arsenals looted, the Libyans have many armament gaps to fill. There is a lucrative market waiting out there. Back in 2004, just after Kadhafi had declared to give up... read more >

Four corvettes for Vietnam

Vietnam is close to ordering four Sigma-class corvettes from Netherlands based Damen Schelde Naval Shipbuilding (DSNS). Late September Vietnamese prime minister Nguyen Tan Dung confirmed the news during a visit to the shipyard. According to a DSNS director the contract was "just a matter of financing details". He likely meant arranging export credit insurances from the Dutch government... read more >

Not so SMART

Last week Spain agreed to provide a base for American ships with advanced anti-missile systems on board to take part in NATO's Active Layered Theatre Ballistic Missile Defence (or ALTBMD) system. Similar agreements to set up the necessary infrastructure were recently concluded with Romania, Poland and Turkey. The US-led gradual built-up of a layered missile defence system (Obama's... read more >

Dutch maintenance of Arab F-16s

Daedalus is a Tilburg-based company specialised in maintenance, repair and overhaul - MRO for insiders - of military aircraft. Apart from F-16 related maintenance Daedalus does support work on Chinook and Cougar helicopters. It also operates in a joint-venture with IEI, part of the US branch of Israeli company Elbit. Customers include the air forces of the Netherlands, Thailand, Indonesia,... read more >

Frontex – new customer for the arms industry

Last week the European Parliament voted largely in favour of a stronger mandate for Frontex, the EU border control agency. One of the changes is that Frontex is now allowed to buy or lease its own equipment, such as patrol boats and helicopters. New opportunities for the defense industry! Before Frontex was completely depending on EU member states for the provision of its equipment. While its... read more >

Where East meets West

IMAV 2011 is short for International Micro Air Vehicle conference and flight competition and is held this week at the Dutch army base in 't Harde. "Micro Air Vehicles (MAVs) are small flying robotic systems. With their light weight and small size, they form ideal platforms for both research and real-world applications, both civil and military. The development of MAVs requires advanced... read more >

DSEi and the Dutch

Coming Tuesday the world's largest arms fair, Defence and Security Equipment International (DSEi), in Londen, once again opens its doors for arms producers, military and government officials. Over 25 Netherlands companies will be present, as will be a Dutch Navy vessel. A Dutch government delegation, headed by either the Minister of Economic Affairs or the Minister of Defence, will visit DSEi... read more >