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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 >

Arms trade and the Greek debt crisis

Both Greece and the euro currency have bought extra time to recover from the financial crisis after eurozone leaders agreed a new 109 billion euro rescue deal for the debt-laden country. But worries persist over the size of Greece's debt mountain and the ability of other troubled economies in Europe to overcome their budgetary challenges. Rarely mentioned in the discussions on the Greek... read more >

Dutch firm joins forces with Nigerian navy to establish shipbuilding facility

Wieringerwerf-based company TP Marine intensifies its ties with the Nigerian navy. After providing it with catamarans and refitting its large patrol boats, TP Marine and the navy early this June signed an agreement for the construction of a ship building facility in the port of Lagos. Chief of Naval Staff Colonel Ibrahim noted the importance of the deal for the Nigerian military: “It... read more >

Saudi Leopards

Last week the Dutch parliamentary year finished, with on Thursday voting on hundreds of motions. Twelve of them were on arms export policy issues, many of them referring to the political storm in the Middle East and North Africa. The minister of Foreign Trade, Henk Bleker, was quick to advise against all motions. Nevertheless, late-night voting showed majority support for three of them,... read more >

Arms export policy used as greenwash

Thanks to mobile phones, the use of European weapons against brave Arab people demanding democracy is well-documented. Many Europeans were shocked, and journalists and parliamentarians publicly asked how this could have happened. We do have European arms export regulations, don't we? We were supposed to take human rights into consideration. Some people said this proves the need for a United... read more >

Secret meeting place for shady arms conference

Next Thursday (9 June) arms dealers and government officials meet in Amsterdam for the third annual Netherlands Offset Conference. This conference is about orders foreign defence corporations are obliged to place with Dutch companies when the Dutch military buys something from them (so called 'compensation orders'). For 445 Euros participants can network and listen to speakers from... read more >

Shareholder values

EADS is a Dutch public limited company (“NV”), with headquarters in the university town of Leiden. When this pan-European enterprise was set up in 2000, the Netherlands happened to be both tax haven and neutral ground, quite in the centre of Europe. Initially EADS, one of the world's largest arms companies, was just a letterbox company, registered in Schiphol. But after its... read more >

No dialogue with tanks and soldiers

With hardly any foreign journalist in the country the little news that is getting out of Syria comes through people who take great risks filming demonstrations against the brutal repression by the Assad regime. Hundreds of short movies have been uploaded on YouTube. Many of these show tanks and armoured vehicles used to intimidate and terrorise the demonstrators. An estimated 850 people have been... read more >

Supplier of Libyan cluster bombs claims compensation

In April The New York Times and Human Rights Watch revealed that Libyan forces loyal to Muammar Gaddafi had used cluster bombs in attacks on residential areas in the western city of Misrata. The little-known cluster bomb turned out to be a MAT-120 mortar round that carries 21 submunitions up to a range of 5,500 to 6,800 meter. With its MAT-120, Spanish company Instalaza was one of the first... read more >

Spring sales at the Dutch military

In April Dutch Defence minister Hillen announced long-expected defence cuts as part of austerity measures in response to the economic crisis. As much as 12,000 jobs will be lost over the next year and some 6,000 people will lose their jobs. Sad as this may be for the people involved, even after the cuts the military will be one of the largest employers in the country with some 54,000 people on... read more >

Escalating border conflict no problem for Dutch arms trade with Thailand

The Thai-Cambodian border conflict has escalated over the past months. On 22 April at least six soldiers were killed and thousands of villagers had to flee to safety. Troops on both sides of the border have regularly exchanged fire since February. Thai and Cambodian soldiers have used guns, tanks and rockets in the fight over the territory that surrounds the 11th century Hindu temple of Preah... read more >

Global arms industry targets growth market in Rio

According to the latest figures of peace research institute SIPRI the world’s military spending continued its upward trend in 2010 with an increase of 1.3 per cent in real terms to a staggering $1630 billion. Not only is the amount completely beyond imagination, it goes against the European trends of falling military budgets. On the other side of the Atlantic spending is still going up. The... read more >

Damen expanding in Vietnam

Dutch shipyard group Damen has signed a contract with the Vietnamese government aiming at a “step up in cooperation and transfer of technologies”, Jane’s Defence Weekly is reporting today. The agreement was formalised in Hanoi by Vietnam’s deputy defence minister and Damen representatives. Damen entered into a joint venture in 2007 with Vietnam Shipbuilding Industry Group... read more >

Airbus Military manipulates Oxfam figure to bolster arms sales

Something that has struck me for years is the rather explicit nature of arms industry advertising. All military magazines have them. Promoting arms that ‘hit-to-kill’, clamouring being ‘battle proven’, or announcing ‘new tools for new rules’. In a way you get used to it. Occasionally though, I still get caught by amazement. As when I saw this recent ad by... read more >