Operating the defence industry on a national level in Europe is unsustainable and European Union members should be working together to develop and procure arms, delegates at the DSEi conference in London have been told.

European Defence Agency (EDA) deputy chief executive Dr Hilmar Linnenkamp says there is no systematic coordination of defence industrial or armaments policy at a government level in the EU.

“Many European governments have attempted to build up and maintain their own development and production capacities in as many technological areas as possible,” he says.

Dr Linnenkamp says when the EDA was formed three years ago, they discovered there were 23 armoured vehicle development programmes in the EU.

“Its completely obvious that this is a waste of effort and that for operational reasons it seems irresponsible.”

Defence industrial policy and armament policy in Europe is still characterised by fragmentation of national markets, he says.

“There is a splintering of tools and resources across too many defence programmes, very small production sizes and differing military requirements, so fragmentation happens

“Without significantly changing the way development and procurement of military equipment is conducted, the decline in military research and technology development will not maintain the current industry capabilities in Europe.”

By Elizabeth Clifford-Marsh