Explosive Stuff weblog

News and opinions on international arms trade. Subscribe and stay tuned!

Dutch arms exports and SIPRI ranking

04.06.18
In the latest annual report Trends in international arms transfers by the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) The Netherlands entered the top-10 of Global arms exporters. The main message of the report, covering 2013-2017, is that global arms exports grew 10 per cent in comparison with 2008–2012. In the top 10 of largest arms exporters only two countries had a shrinking... read more >

F-35, Turkey and the EU Common Position

22.05.18
Although under the autocratic regime of president Erdogan, Turkey expected to receive its F-35 fighter aircraft. According to plan the first plan would be delivered June 21 and stationed in September 2019 in Turkey's Malatya province which borders Iran, Iraq and Syria. But remarkably the program is now under fire in the US. The detention of the American pastor Andrew Craig Brunson, the role... read more >

A Common Position is not a common policy

09.05.18
This year the EU Common Position on the export of military goods and technology is due for review. Will the text be improved? Will there be criteria added, for example on corruption? Will vague notions such as 'serious' human rights violation be replaced by something more measurable? So far most EU Member States have not shown much interest in a Common Position review. They seem happy... read more >

Submarines for swap

17.04.18
April 2018 the US promised Tapei technology to be used for a domestic Taiwanese submarine program. Only technology, because the largest superpower of this era has no capacity for building diesel submarines; it sails only subs with nuclear engines. The major builders and exporters of non-nuclear submarines are located in Europe. Nine nations have diesel submarine building capabilities, all EU/NATO... read more >

European naval vessels for sale

31.03.18
According to a study written for the European Commission, the average share of Europe’s naval industry is more than 60 percent of the global export market over the period 2005-2014. The European naval industry takes 25-30 percent of the total production value of the whole maritime sector. Only the US with 60 percent has a higher percentage (but the US has a very small merchant marine... read more >

Dual use technology for China

13.03.18
In January 2018 17 percent of Dutch dual-use exports went to China. Is this an issue for arms control activists? In February Chinese president Xi Jiping aimed for a presidency without end. At the same time it was rumoured that a Chinese fleet sailed into the Indian Ocean as a show of military force towards India. The largest vessels mentioned, so-called 52C destroyers, are capable of firing... read more >

Frontex hires notorious Israeli drones for border security trials

01.03.18
In the course of this year Frontex, the EU border guard agency, will test two military UAVs (drones) for maritime border surveillance in the Mediterranean Sea: the Heron from Israeli Aerospace Industries (IAI) and the Falco from Italian arms giant Leonardo (formerly Finmeccanica). Heron drones have a notorious history of use against the Palestinians, adding more objections to their already... read more >

EU and military and security industry meet on future of EUROSUR

03.02.18
On 6 and 7 February EU and member states' officials meet up with military and security companies for the 'Industry Day on Border Surveillance and Integrated Border Management' in Brussels. The aim of the day is to discuss the future development of EUROSUR, the EU border monitoring and surveillance system. This shows again the close connections between the EU and the European military... read more >

Shoot! on Yemen

15.01.18
The Saudi's lost over 20 Abraham tanks during the war in Yemen. A flow of supplemental tanks goes from the US to the Arabian peninsular and deployment of them in the Yemen war continues, reports and video's show. February last year the Pentagon issued a contract for the modification of systems and technical support for the Abrams and its derivatives of Australia, UAE and Saudi Arabia.... read more >

F-35 arms trade by stealth

28.11.17
It is expected the European Parliament will adopt a resolution on Thursday November 30, on on the situation in Yemen. A concept version states: “[The European Parliament] strongly criticises the intensive arms trade of Member States with various countries in the region, as in the cases of the UK, Spain, France and Germany; calls for an immediate suspension of arms transfers and military... read more >

EU arms embargo on Venezuela enables continued sales

14.11.17
On November 13, the European Union adopted an embargo to Venezuela on all arms and on related material that might be used for internal repression. It is meant to underline the EU policy: “The EU calls upon the government to urgently restore democratic legitimacy, including through free and fair elections, and on the opposition to continue engaging in a united manner towards a negotiated... read more >

Controlling cyber technology by Catch-all

11.04.17
Companies do not care what happens with their exported surveillance technology, according to a leading Dutch daily. The paper referred to an investigation of Al Jazeera in the murky world of surveilance exports. Reporter Simon Boazman wondered if it “will it ever be possible for this booming industry to be properly regulated?” The European Commision is trying exactly that, and... read more >

Belgian and Dutch participation in missile defence

28.02.17
The Dutch and Belgian naval forces are deeply integrated. Recently the two countries decided to aim for identical new frigates for an anti-submarine role, according to a Memorandum of Understanding (MoU). The project is in its early stages. Belgium allocated € 1 billion euro's to the project and the Netherlands € 730 million. The financial difference may reflect that Belgium wants... read more >

War from space

24.01.17
The official headquarters of Airbus can be found in the middle of Leiden, near the oldest university of the Netherlands. In big white washed production halls, robot arms for a space station are hanging in a frame. The well-known Ariane rocket, the European launch vehicle for the European Space Agency satellite launchings, is maintained in Leiden. But also the smaller VEGA rocket, which can bring... read more >

European defence industry: how to define figures?

04.10.16
According to the European Commission (EC), on a webpage summarizing the EU defence industry, total direct employment in the EU defence sector is half a million people. The sector involves 1,350 small and medium-sized enterprise (SMEs) who are important to the supply chain. Most of these SMEs are located in six EU countries (France, Germany, Italy, Spain, Sweden and the UK, the so-called Letter of... read more >

Legislators in court; fighting export permits the judicial way

31.08.16
When an arms company application for an export permit is turned down, the company can appeal to a court. In the Netherlands for example, arms company Thales appealed successfully against the denial of an export license to India in 2005. But what if an arms company is permitted an export license where campaigners fear human rights consequenses? What happens if civil society organisations appeal... read more >

Long road to arms exports transparency, the Dutch case

18.08.16
Last month the Dutch Government published its annual report on arms exports. We tend to think this kind of transparency is normal in the EU, but twenty years ago there was not such a thing as government public information on arms exports. Most information was secret; until 1998 in the Netherlands only total figures were given, divided in exports to NATO and to non-NATO countries. But transparency... read more >

Dutch surplus arms to Jordan

21.07.16
The Dutch government should reconsider its arms export policy to Jordan considering the recent scandals and developments in the region. It should also provide more detailed information on its surplus sales in general, so a more elaborate opinion can be formed by MPs and civil society. Over the past years a constant flow of information has been published by the international media on Western arms... read more >