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Autonomous armed drones – In the loop or on the loop?

The current debate about the dangers of fully automatic weapon systems is particularly important. An underestimated aspect however is the extent to which the already existing unmanned weapon systems like armed drones can quite easily be further developed into nearly automatic systems in which the human role in the decision making process is just symbolic. An interesting view on this question... read more >

Damen contributes to arms race in Chinese Sea region

Recently, the Dutch (military) shipbuilder Damen opened the Song Cam Shipyard, a joint venture with a Vietnamese partner, not far from the Chinese border and in the direct vicinity of the headquarters of the Vietnamese Navy in Hai Pòng. The wharf is one of the largest in the Damen Group. Pim Schuurman, Managing Director of Damen Holding Vietnam stated: “We have successfully built 226... read more >

The golden triangle; Dutch Defence Industrial Base

Early June of this year the Associated Press published an article about “the bigger nations that account for the bulk of Europe's defence spending”. The Netherlands is amongst those countries, together with Britain, France, Germany, Italy, Poland and Spain. All of these countries forster their arms industries to arm their national defence forces, and all have policies to keep this... read more >

Security exception for TTIP?

Arms are not an ordinary commodity. For that reason, arms trade has been excluded from international trade agreements such as the WTO Treaty and the EU common market. This makes it possible for governments to strengthen their own defence industries in a highly competitive market and keep control of the export of military goods to destinations considered undesirable for strategic, foreign policy... read more >

Airbus Military, growing 'kind of dirty industry.'

May 27 the annual shareholders meeting of Airbus (formerly EADS N.V.), the biggest military and space company in Europe, will take place in Amsterdam. Peace groups have a long history of protests at the event. This has created an atmosphere which was recently described by Airbus CEO Tom Enders: “Working in the defence industry has a bad reputation in several European countries. Many see it... read more >

Dutch 007 equipment; Royal Ten Cate on innovative defence market

Special Forces are the troops most spared by Western governments when economizing on the military. They are an essential element of the new Remote Warfare policy of which drones are another element. New equipment appeals to boy's fantasy. With DARPA's newly-commissioned stealth dirt bikes, the enemy “will never hear how rad you are”. BRD Motorcycles developed a quiet,... read more >

No problem with arms sales to Qatar?

At the closing ceremonies of the DIMDEX Arms Fair Qatar announced arms acquisitions valued at €17 billion ($23 bn.).  This is more than twice the total Dutch annual military budget. Amongst others, the deal includes attack helicopters, guided missiles, tanker planes and naval vessels. Different segments of the orders have a Dutch component. The arms race on the Arabian peninsular has a... read more >

Switzerland and Japan lower arms export standards

The annual report on global arms export of the Stockholm International Peace Research Institute (SIPRI) deals with legal arms exports only. It is the lion share of the world wide trade in weapons. Figures on illegal arms exports, by criminals, companies or countries violating international arms embargos by the UN, EU or OSCE, are not available, for obvious reasons. The United States, which has... read more >

Louder than words; European arms export policy debated

Next week, European non-governmental organisations meet in Brussels with the Council Working Party on Conventional Arms Exports (COARM ) of the European Union. On the agenda is the review of the Users Guide on the EU Common Position on the control of export of military technology and equipment (Common Position on arms export). It will be evaluated in the light of the Arab Spring and the situation... read more >

Military exercises and arms

In recent weeks, the U.S. Africa Command annual regional exercise and operation Flintlock took place. Thousand of soldiers from eighteen countries cooperated in this international event for Special Forces. This year the aim of the exercise was to strengthen the position of the participating countries in two North African regions : the southern border region of Libya and the border region of... read more >

Arab Spring has not restrained the arms trade

The Dutch arms trade is back with a vengeance. While 2012 was a relatively lean year, in 2013 the export of arms rose sharply again. Large orders were recorded from Indonesia (348 million euro) , Oman (64 million) , Singapore (52 million ) and Algeria (24 million). Furthermore, the current government has no objections to sending arms to dictatorships such as Saudi Arabia and Turkmenistan. In 2011... read more >

Horizon 2020: more money for building Fortress Europe

The last months of 2013 saw a continuing trend of border militarisation, with the official launch of the EU border surveillance system Eurosur, the announcement of the building of a razor wire border fence along Bulgaria's border with Turkey and the news that the EU 'civilian' border mission in Libya is in fact training paramilitary Libyan border guards. Meanwhile international... read more >

Killer drones for Europe

In September the Dutch government finally decided to buy a mere 37 of the initially planned 85 F-35 fighter aircraft to replace its F-16 fleet. As this leaves the Netherlands with very limited air power, it might only be a question of time before the recently selected General Atomic's MQ-9 Reaper will receive an armed payload. So far the four planes and one ground station are intended for... read more >

According to some financial institutions, nuclear weapons are not controversial

The Belgian bank KBC claims to have “the most far-reaching policy on controversial weapons in the world.“ Recently however, the report 'Don't Bank on the Bomb'  by the International Campaign to Abolish Nuclear Weapons (ICAN ) and IKV Pax Christi showed KBC investments in Serco, a company involved in development and maintenance of nuclear weapon technology.  When... read more >

Algeria, Morocco naval built-up supports EU anti-immigration policies (and the Dutch arms industry)

While Europe itself is beefing up military operations to prevent immigrants from entering the EU by sea, it also supports North African countries to better equip themselves to tackle the issue at their end. Of course it cuts both ways: North Africa's military expansion is a welcome business opportunity too. Algeria is one of the key countries Europe is looking at. According to the EU, it... read more >

Selling border militarization as a humanitarian effort

Just one week after the dramatic events off the coast of Lampedusa, where more than 300 refugees drowned when their boat sank, the European Parliament approved the operating rules for Eurosur, the European border surveillance system. Eurosur provides in the exchange of real time images and data between EU member states and the EU border agency Frontex, gathered through surveillance of the... read more >

More Dutch F-16s for Jordan

Struggling to balance its budget, the Dutch armed forces badly need cash from selling surplus stock weapons. The long list of available equipment includes armoured vehicles, helicopters, fighter aircraft and even the massive “Joint Logistic Support Ship” (JSS), already put for sale prior to delivery. So far sales have not come easily. In 2012 the planned export of 100 Leopard 2 tanks... read more >

Illegal arms trade legalised

The fallout caused by the war in Libya has yet to settle, while the next military intervention is already planned. The Maghreb and Near East are flooded with heavy arms, smuggled out of Libyan arsenals. Syria is an important destination. The BBC cites the UN Security Council's Group of Experts, which monitors the arms embargo imposed on Libya during the 2011 uprising. In April 2013 the... read more >