Developing the value of transatlantic defence industry cooperation

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Chris Lombardi is Vice President of Business Development at Raytheon. [German Marshall Fund of the United States 2020]

On 4 March 2020, Chris Lombardi, Vice President European Business Development at Raytheon, sat down at the German Marshall Fund’s conference in Brussels to discuss Raytheon’s contributions and commitment to ‘Developing the Value of Transatlantic Defence Industry Cooperation.’ Speaking with other defence and security actors from both politics and industry, the following Q&A is based on that discussion. 

Q: What is the value of transatlantic defence industry cooperation for Europe’s safety?

The first benefit of cooperation is that our troops, the men and women who make up the first line of defence for our countries, receive and work with the best possible products, systems and services. Our militaries depend on us, the defence industry, to provide them with the capabilities they need to address the geopolitical risks we face. It makes sense that we, as citizens and taxpayers, make sure that they have everything they need to achieve this. 

At Raytheon, we have found that our global European partnerships foster and accelerate innovation, industrial growth and novel capabilities. The value of our transatlantic alliance drives diversity of inventions, ideas and an entrepreneurial spirit. with transatlantic supply chains ever more integrated, the transatlantic defence industry has reached a somewhat organic level of integration that produces cutting edge capabilities for our security in Europe and in the US. 

During the event organised by the German Marshall Fund, I sat next to a colleague from our German partner Rheinmetall. Rheinmetall and Raytheon have a strategic partnership bringing the most innovative solutions in air defence and land systems to customers on both sides of the Atlantic. This is just one example of our many European partners with whom we enjoy a productive relationship. 

Q:  Why does it matter? 

The reality is that we live in an increasingly tense world. Geopolitical risks are on the rise. Both older and emerging actors are ready to use hard power to promote and achieve their own objectives. With Libya, Ukraine or Syria at its borders, Europe is surrounded by active combat zones. Beyond these troubled borders and ‘traditional’ conflicts, technologies such as hypersonic, space or cyber and AI are radically transforming our battlegrounds. This make innovation essential to winning a conflict of any kind. 

Europeans want to protect their way of life and be ready to face off all threats. This means that our capabilities must constantly evolve to stay ahead of the potential dangers.  

To ensure we have the most advanced capabilities safeguarding our security, industrial actors from both sides of the Atlantic must continue to work together in an open and competitive market. 

Q: Which role can a US defence company play in Europe?

Raytheon has been in Europe for more than 100 years. Our radars helped defeat the Nazi’s U-boats in the Atlantic during World War II. We supplied the magnetron tubes used in U.S. and British radars and developed parts for the crucial proximity fuse in antiaircraft shells, among other equipment. We have a long history of working with European partners, both industrial and military. These partnerships are even stronger as we work today with hundreds of industrial actors in Europe, which hosts two-thirds of our international industrial partnerships.  These are mutually beneficial relationships: our cooperation, especially with small and medium enterprises, not only promotes shared knowledge and efficiencies in R&D, but also reinforces both the European defence sector’s industrial fabric and our own company. 

We work with some of the largest defence industry players in Europe including Saab in Sweden, Kongsberg in Norway, and Rheinmetall in Germany, as well as with numerous defence SMEs, a priority of the new European Commission’s industrial strategy, such as Teldat in Poland, Mercury in Switzerland, or Vincorion in Germany.  

Our Patriot Air and Missile Defence System provides another good example of our long-term collaboration in Europe.  Romania will receive delivery of its first unit in the autumn of 2020. Romanian military will benefit from the experience and counsel of other Patriot-owning nations such as Germany, the Netherlands, or Spain. Our partners from Germany, Poland and other European countries will have worked on the manufacture of the Romanian Patriot System. 

Through our cooperation with many European countries and companies, we help strengthen and integrate the European Defence Technological and Industrial Base, another priority of the European Commission. At the end of the day, if you ask most soldiers or officers, they will tell you that it does not matter if their equipment is French, American, German or Polish, as long as it functions in the best and most reliable way possible. 

Q: Moving forward, how do you see transatlantic defence cooperation evolve? 

During my remarks at the conference, I reminded the audience about one article of the Washington Treaty signed in 1949 which created NATO. The article states that members should “seek to eliminate conflict in their international economic policies and will encourage economic collaboration between any and all of them.” I truly believe that this is the best way forward. From my position in the private sector I see every day how transatlantic defence cooperation hugely benefits the safety of both the US and Europe. Despite the criticisms and concerns about the transatlantic relationship, I think it is time to actually double-down on cooperation, so we remain the strongest and most secure Alliance in history. 

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