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European Cooperation in Defence, what else ?

Posted on March 11 2013 by Julien Maire in Defence, Défense, Europe, TomEnders, EDA, France, EADS

These comments are my own regarding the audition of Tom Enders, CEO of EADS, by the French Committee of "Foreign Affairs, Defense & Armies" about the European Defence.

They do not express a vision on EADS, neither the EADS nor my one.

European Cooperation in Defence, what else ?
  • EDA's projects
  • EATC
  • French-German Tiger School
  • Green Blade
  • Northern co-operation & Benelux co-operation
  • Joint excercises between France & UK
  • nEUROn & Telemos UAV projects
  • NH90 & A400M cases
  • MBDA success
  • ...

... European Cooperation in Defence exists and is not symbolic.

Main critics come from the unknown of these projects, due to the fact that they are independent.

Difficulies around common equipments are mainly due to 3 reasons :

  • Differences of visions by European Nations regarding the Defence
i.e: Eurofighter / Rafale case, European UAV case, Defence cuts...
  • Differences of visions by Europeans Nations regarding their needs
i.e: Eurofighter / Rafale case, A400M multi-constraints...
  • The fact that a new equipment must be able to be integrated into each Nations current Defence system
i.e: A400M case, NH90 multi-variants...

  • I do NOT share the idea expressed by Senators resuming the European Defence to the French-German co-operation.

In Fact, even Germany is a primary industrial actor on Aerospace & Defence, it is not an active Defence Nation :

Actually, modern German army is too recent to have a proven vision of Future Defence.

Its mistake around the EC665 'Tiger' UHT, or the fact that they sized their equipments in line with their human force (and not their deployment need, and which explain their current Defence cuts), clearly show the lack of vision from Germany regarding Defence Excellence.

In addition, Germany has neither proven experience, nor the wish on leading External Operations, due to the fact that it has no worldwide imperial history.

  • I share the opinion of Tom Enders concerning the fact that Cameron, UK Prime Minister, is acting for Europe, especially for European Defence.

He is critized by the fact that he do not necessary share the French-German of vision of a United Europe, but more a Confederal Europe.

  • I agree with the fact that EADS-BAE merger would have been profitable for both companies and for the external strengh of the european Aerospace & Defence industry...
(... And Thales would have perfectly completed this merger)

  • ... I am absolutely not in accordance with Tom Enders shortcut that the failure of this merger is a failure of European Defence.

It is a failure for European INDUSTRY in Defence, but a success for European Defence, regarding Nations role.

Refer to my analysis of this merger :

  • I join Tom Enders when he reminds that profits are requested.

Read 'The Goal' (by E.M. Goldratt) and/or 'Leçon d'Histoire sur l'Entreprise de l'Antiquité à nos Jours' (by M. Drancourt) for more information on the importance of profits role.

And it its due to the key role of profits (and reaching the aims) that I have a very critic opinion on Cassidian management during last 5-10 years. Based on the feedback of the waste of successes, time & money from this company, I push, since years, that it has to be deeply re-thank... or sold.

  • I support Ton Enders when he exposes that a project should not be co-managed by partnership members, but need a Prime Contractor which leads, coordinates & decides.

Aerospace & Defence systems are going more and more complex. It is important that, to optimize complexity degrees, the project is based on a easy-to-manage organization.

Several feedbacks about projects Excellence highlights in one hand the success of a Prime-Contractor organization (promoted in US and also by some european companies like Dassault) ; in other hand, complex industrial organization faced to unefficiency which caused substantial delay & over-costs (i.e: NH90, F35...)

  • For the same reason, like Tom Enders expressed also, the Contractor may refer to a unique source that lead the definition of the project in accordance with industry advices and/or highlights.

As I explained in introduction, Customers have all their own visions of the project and its need.

To avoid adding degrees of complexity, incoherent specifications or non-relevant customizations, it is critical to the project to be based on an Excellence approach.

For that, it has to be kept on an industrial basis and not integrate preliminar minor, risked and not-optimized requirements.

If a Customer does not accept the rules, he might not disrupt the project but may leave it.

  • Even Tom Enders wishes EADS continues working with France on UAVs, I am not sure that his wish will realize :

Mr. Longuet, when he was French Minister of Defence in late 2011, said about the Harfang (an EADS Cassidian UAV based on the IAI 'Heron') :

"When we know that one of our few Harfangs deployed in Afghanistan was grounded more than a year due to a problem regarding an equipment [note: a lack of spare], we should ask us if it is rational to work with that kind of partners [note: EADS Cassidian] which are not under orders of their orderers"

  • I will not comment Tom Enders promoting EADS for French & European projects topics : it is the game of contenders lobbying !

It is a 'fair fight' with other European Industries : Dassault did the same few months earlier.

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