June 15, 2012
Credit: Credit: BAE Dassault
Germany and France agreed on Thursday to deepen military cooperation in areas ranging from satellites and missile defense to arms procurement, aiming to extract maximum value from shrinking defense budgets.
The agreement, signed by the two governments in Paris on Thursday, highlights Europe’s drive to reduce costly duplication in defense and achieve economies of scale as it struggles to cut spending and tame its sovereign debt crisis.
A copy of the declaration of intent was seen by Reuters before the signing at the Eurosatory arms show near Paris.
Under the accord, NATO allies Germany and France aim to coordinate new purchases of tanks and artillery, to better integrate the Tiger and NH-90 helicopter projects and to explore possible cooperation on missile defense.
Other countries, such as Italy, could also participate.
Germany, France and Britain also plan to look into developing a European drone, the declaration said.
“We must build a platform that others can join,” German Deputy Defense Minister Stephane Beemelmans told Reuters in Berlin. “Germany and France have often done this and that is what we want to do once again.”
“In future the law of numbers will, almost without exception, be against us,” he said.
“Modern systems are much more complex and individual states tend to order smaller amounts of equipment than they used to, which reduces the potential for streamlining.”