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FEINDEF, The International Defence and Security Fair was held for the First-Time in Madrid, Spain

Issue 93 - July 2019

The International Defence and Security Exhibition, FEINDEF, organized by TEDAE and AESMIDE - the two Spanish business associations in the sector - with the support of the Ministry of Defence, is the first exhibition of its kind to take place in Spain.

The Fair, which had to expand its initial exhibition space due to the high demand, spanned 14,000 square meters of exhibition space with a premium conference program designed at the highest level. The exhibition hosted 48 official delegations of 32 countries and brought together 150 exhibitors from 11 different countries, including the main companies in the sector like Navantia, Airbus, Indra, Leonardo, Tecnobit, Expal, GDELS-Santa Bárbara Sistemas etc. In addition, numerous small and medium-sized companies that make up the supply chain were presented, accounting for more than 67% of the total number of exhibitors. Defence Turkey Magazine was represented by Ms. Ayşe EVERS, our magazine’s editor-in-chief. Defence Turkey Magazine was also the only Turkish Media in attendance at the exhibition. 

The first edition of FEINDEF closed its doors with successful visits by more than 10,000 defence professionals. Moreover, with the presence of European defence-related institutions, many opportunities for international collaboration offered by the new European defence policy framework has arisen. FEINDEF, as a meeting point for the industry, was an ideal setting to promote collaboration between companies in the sector in terms of investment in R&D and technology. There were numerous signatures on collaboration agreements between private companies, and in addition, collaborations between companies and public institutions were confirmed as well.

FEINDEF had the participation of first level authorities such as the Minister of Defence, Margarita ROBLES; the Secretary of State for Defence, Ángel OLIVARES; the Chief of Staff of Defence (JEMAD, by its acronym in Spanish), TG Fernando Alejandre MARTÍNEZ; the Chief of Staff of the Army (JEME), GE Francisco Javier Varela SALAS; the Chief of Staff of the Air Force (JEMA), GA Javier Salto MARTÍNEZ-AVIAL; Admiral Chief of Staff of the Navy (AJEMA), AG Teodoro LÓPEZ CALDERÓN and the Director General of Armament and Material, AL Santiago GONZÁLEZ GÓMEZ. As the main promoters of FEINDEF, representatives from the Spanish Ministry of Defence visited the Fair on all three days, engaging in the opportunity to get a closer look at the products, concepts and services on display. 

The fair also attracted the interest of other high-level authorities as the Minister of Science, Innovation and Universities, Pedro Duque; the Secretary of State - Director of the National Intelligence Centre, Félix Sanz ROLDÁN and the Director General of Recruitment and Civil Education, Amparo VALCARCE.

Many other international authorities were present at the different activities and forums of the exhibition, such as the former head of the UN Secretary-General’s Cabinet and former minister of Foreign Affairs, Susana MALCORRA; the Director of the European Defence Agency, Jorge DOMECQ and Head of Unit 1 Defence - DG GROW - European Commission, Alain ALEXIS, among others. 

Innovation, Dual Technologies and Employment as the Backbone of Defence

The event had also an extensive program of forums and conferences in which current defence issues were addressed. Employment, Innovation and Women’s Forums were among the topics in the program, which were discussed and explored with several round tables in which experts debated the perspectives of the sector. Innovation and dual technology were the central main themes. 

The Employment Forum was geared toward the so-called Special Availability Reservists, troops and seamen who at 45 years end their contractual relationship with the Armed Forces, and also  these topics were of special interest to Human Resources (HR) managers of companies in the sector.

The Defence and Security innovation Brokerage (DSiB), the entrepreneurship forum of the first edition of FEINDEF focused its attention on innovation and dual technology through a brokerage and various round tables. 20 projects were selected and presented to specialists from the university world, the Armed Forces and national and international companies in a 3x3 brokerage format (three slides in three minutes). The proposals were framed within the areas defined by the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP): electronics, meta-materials, drones, robotics, etc. 

Companies, representatives of the Armed Forces and of the Administration, including the Director General of Armament and Material (DIGAM), the AL Santiago R. González GÓMEZ, and the Deputy Director General of Coordination and Institutional Relations of the Ministry of Science and Innovation, Felipe Formariz POMBO participated in this forums with the aim of sharing the different approaches and defining the challenges and needs of the future. Additionally, there was a Round Table, moderated by GD Jose Luis MURGA (PLATIN), in which the new European Defence Policy and the new lines of financing it brings with it was debated.

Gender Equality and Female Talent Debated at the Women’s Forum

The FEINDEF Women’s Forum was an initiative of the organizers to highlight the important role of women in peace processes and to promote the participation of women in the Security and Defence sectors as well as in the technological and scientific sectors. The Forum was created with the aim of sharing experiences, exchanging opinions, analysing trends and discovering new talents.

Spain is one of the European countries with the highest percentage of women in the Armed Force, tripling, for example, Italy. In the Spanish Armed Force, only 12.8% of the troops are women, a percentage that drops to 9.2% in the case of officers. As a result of the late incorporation of women into military life, barely 30 years ago. Despite the low figures, Spain is one of the European Union countries with more women among its ranks. It is slightly below France and Greece, with more than 15% of women among its ranks, but well above Italy, whose Armed Forces only have 4.3% of women.

In this regard, the Women’s Forum addressed how gender mainstreaming in peacekeeping operations and national training programs for military and police personnel has contributed to conflict prevention and resolution. 

New Products and Innovation at FEINDEF

During the exhibition, lot of novelties were presented. Some of them as a result of new programs driven by the Spanish Ministry of Defence, such as the presentation of the new Engineering Combat Vehicle (ECV), of GDELS-Santa Bárbara SISTEMAS, and two of the turrets competing for the VCR 8x8 program, the first one which is the result of the collaboration between Navantia and Expal, and the second one is the fruit of the partnership between Indra, Escribano Mechanical Engineering and Leonardo.  

Technological advances were exhibited too, such as the new USV of Marine Instruments, the development of the new displays for the F18 of Tecnobit-Oesía Group, the new rucksack with built-in airbag of Altus Yuma which is capable of saving a soldier’s life if caught in an avalanche.  These novelties confirm the important role of investments in R&D in the industry.

Defence Industry Key to Strengthening Spain’s Industrial and Technological Base 

The defence and security market is one of Spain’s sectors with the greatest strength and economic projection, with a turnover of more than 5,900 million euros per year. The sector has a high technological level, based on the high investment in R&D and the continuous activities focused on innovation. Being one of the sectors that invests more in R&D compared to others, exceeding 10% of turnover. It is a sector with a high added value associated with most of its activities, and it also has a high industrial and technological complexity that favours the competitiveness of our industry on an international level. Many of the technologies developed in the military field are dual in nature, which makes them useful in the civil field, thus helping to strengthen the country’s technological and industrial base.

The high degree of internationalization of this industry is one of the keys to its stability. More than 83% of total turnover corresponds to exports, which in nominal terms means around 4,930 million euros per year. Sales have been made to a total of 67 countries, through international defence programs, international industrial cooperation agreements and direct sales.  The main clients of  Spanish Defence companies are international Consortiums, which account for around 36% of total defence exports. These are followed in importance by Europe (25%), the Middle East and North Africa (6%) and the United States (6%).

By market segments, aeronautics also leads the Defence export market with an advantage, accounting for more than 71% of the sector’s total sales abroad. Behind this are naval with 7.8%, land vehicles with 6.1% and ancillary services with 5.7% of total export turnover.

The Government of Spain Closed 2018 with a Significant investment in Defence

In the last six months, more than 12.7 billion euros have been approved in large multiyear contracts. The new investment cycle ensures the development of Spanish R&D and thousands of jobs in Spain.

In the last quarter of 2018, the Government of Spain promoted a new cycle of investment in Defence, with the approval of large contracts that exceed 12,7 billion euros and which represent the largest investment in the sector in the last 20 years.

Last December, the Council of Ministers approved three of the industry’s key programs: F-110 frigate, 8x8 VCR, and the modernization of the Eurofighter. These programs involve not only the Ministry of Defence but also the Ministry of Industry. Thanks to these plans, the development of Spanish R&D is guaranteed, and tens of thousands of jobs are secured throughout Spain for years to come.

These three contracts represent an investment of 7,331 million euros in a Multiannual Plan until 2032, and the creation of more than 8,500 direct and indirect jobs throughout Spain. Since June 2018, the ministry led by Margarita ROBLES has also given the green light to the modernization of Chinook helicopters and Piraña Army vehicles, as well as the acquisition of a fourth Super Puma helicopter for the Air Force.

Last July, the Council of Ministers also approved the processing of a new agreement to guarantee the Armed Forces access to data from the new generation SpainSat satellites.

This latest investment drive by the Ministry completes the effort made during 2018 in Defence, which began in the first half with the approval of some important contracts such as the updating of the Navy Harriers, for 19.6 million euros, or the acquisition of basic night vision modules for the Army, for a value of 14.4 million euros. The approval of all these programs confirms the Defence industry as a strategic sector within the Spanish industrial fabric. Positioning Spain at the forefront in the development of its own R&Dis a key element when it comes to forming European consortiums as envisaged in the new European Defence Action Plan.

Fostering Innovation and the Dual Nature of Technology for the Benefit of Society

Dual technologies are an important part of the Spanish industrial fabric. The interaction between universities, research centers and the defence industry has led to a merge of strictly “military” and “civil” in R&D developments. The defence and security sector are aware of the need to work side by side with the civil world, promoting innovation and the dual nature of technology for the benefit of society. 

Internet, GPS or microwaves are some of the best-known cases of this type of technology that were developed in response to defence needs and which became popular when the technology crossed over to the civil sphere.

These synergies add value to technological cooperation and the exploitation of investments, since technology is developed once and is later adapted to multiple applications.

The European Union is also investing resources in this type of technological development, especially with the Horizon 2020 program, in which mechanisms have been articulated to promote the participation of different units and bodies of the Ministry of Defence to participate in various dual programs.

At the same time, the Ministry of Defence calls each year for a selection process for  R&D projects “of interest to Defence”, with the aim of being included in the program of Cooperation in Scientific Research and Development in Strategic Technologies (COINCIDENTE program). This initiative, for the promotion of dual technologies, seeks to benefit from adapting civil developments that can also meet military needs.

Europe Moves Towards a Common Defence Policy

Currently, 80% of defence spending in European countries is done on an individual basis. The European Defence Fund has been set up to support investment in research, development and joint procurement programs across the Union. The European Union is taking great strides towards a common defence policy. In recent years, a multitude of initiatives have emerged to homogenize investments in this area.

The EU is the second region in the world in terms of military spending, surpassed only by the United States, which in 2015 doubled European defence spending. Despite this level of investment, its fragmentation within the EU means that between 25,000 and 100,000 million euros are considered inefficient expenditure. For example, while the US has only one model of tank, in Europe there are at least five different models, and the same applies to combat aircraft.

Each country has its own procurement policy, which means that approximately 80% of defence procurement is carried out individually, which increases the rate of duplication in the Union’s systems. On the other hand, Europe continues to be highly dependent on foreign technologies, mainly the United States.

European Programs

Considering this data, the European Union has proposed ambitious programs to alleviate the effects of duplication and fragmentation, as well as to promote the development of its own technologies. This is the first time that the EU has allocated EU funds to finance defence-related projects and activities.

The main project is the European Defence Action Plan (EDAP), which aims to coordinate Member States’ defence investments. The EDAP’s most important instrument is the European Defence Fund (EDF), through which funds are channelled into research, financed directly by the EU, and development and procurement, where the EU will create incentives for Member States to cooperate with each other. This fund is expected to mobilize around €13 billion over the period 2021-2027.

Prior to the EDF, the EU created two initiatives to test the feasibility of earmarking European funds for R&D activities in the defence sector. The first of these is the Preparatory Action on Defence Research (PADR), which had a budget of 90 million euros from 2017 to 2019.  Following this, between 2019 and 2020, the EU has launched the European Defence Industry Development Program (EDIDP) which was created to promote the competitiveness, efficiency and innovation capacity of European industry and under which activities in the product and technology development phase will be supported.  The EU’s budget for the EDIDP is 500 million EUR