German Defense Industry Urges European Independence from U.S. Defense Sector

German Defense Industry Urges European Independence from U.S. Defense Sector

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The German defense industry has called on European countries to create large, specialized arms companies.

According to Armin Papperger, Rheinmetall CEO, if Europe wants closer defense cooperation, countries need to specialize in certain military technologies.

Papperger noted that this is the most difficult discussion that European politicians are having at the governmental level.

“It doesn’t make sense if we choose the second or third best technology because one country wants it. We need large arms companies in Europe,” said Rheinmetall’s CEO.

European defense companies compete with each other, military budgets are controlled at the national level, and individual states seek to maintain control over strategic supply chains, factories, jobs, and technological advantages.

Президент Rheinmetall Армін Паппергер. Фото: Bild

Examples of successful cross-border cooperation include Europe’s largest manufacturer, MBDA, owned by the British defense industry BAE Systems, and the European aircraft manufacturer Airbus, each of which holds 37.5% of the shares, and the rest belongs to the Italian company Leonardo.

Papperger also believes that in case of a major military conflict, Europe could be left alone, while the United States will focus on Asia.

In his opinion, if Donald Trump becomes President of the United States, the pressure on Germany will be greater. At the same time, the Rheinmetall CEO added that the race to restore the country’s military power will continue regardless of who is in the White House.

He noted that over the past decades, European leaders have taken for granted that the United States would come to the continent’s aid in the event of a military threat, but “that’s not going to happen anymore.”

Армін Паппергер, генеральний директор Rheinmetall, липень 2022 року. Фото: Rheinmetall

The U.S. military capability has faced its own challenges, among which Papperger cited growing political polarization.

“A big challenge for the next president of America will be to bring the two parties together. It’s bad when the world’s largest economy – and the largest defense power – is a divided nation,” said Rheinmetall’s CEO.

As previously reported, German arms manufacturer Rheinmetall plans to set up at least four weapons manufacturing factories in Ukraine.

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