Beyond EADS "typhoon": Australia vs. Spain Defense adquisition benefits

Some critics on the political management of Spanish interest in EADS since 2004 have selective memoire.

Two key documents could be quoted: Construcciones Aeronaúticas: crónicas de una muerte anunciada (GEES, February 2009, 20) and Hace falta un análisis sereno y ponderado sobre el asunto de EADS en España (Infodefensa, February 2009, 19)

Despite more than twenty years of privatization processes, Spanish industrial managers from “INI Legacy Old Guard” (INILOG) performed a good job in order to maintain their corporative interests using public funds and operational demands since 1982 under alternatives Socialist and Conservative Spanish Govs.

From 1999, not only former CASA current MTAD EADS but also current public shipyards Navantia (with Lockheed Martin Co –LMCO- as first subcontractor and tech partner) and SBS (today under control of General Dynamics) lived under a great illusion.

INILOG apparent success, the great illusion, is that they served as “national champions” supported by Spanish Security and Defense demands and public grants for R&D and innovation processes. In the case of MTAD, this great illusion still complemented by buying decisions from civil companies like Iberia which main stake holder, Caja Madrid, runs under a Conservative regional Gov political control. Iberia is the only main commercial transport company in Europe which managed an entire Airbus fleet, a political decission took in support of Spanish interests inside EADS…

GEES have forgotten the long delays from 1996 to 2004 in order to program the replacement of the ageing fleets of tactical, attack, SAR and logistical helicopters serving to both Spanish Armed Forces and Security Forces. The tensions inside the Popular Party militants and advisors between “buy American” and “buy “European” hooligans were historically remarkable. At the end, after 2004 pools –celebrated under the acting Spanish Gob fiasco in order to prevent and to manage the 11-M Islamist terrorist attack- open windows of opportunity for "clever and astute" regional Socialist from Castilla-La Mancha (C-LM) to the establishment of Eurocopter España in Albacete (C-LM), despite the best business option to establish it at Cuatro-Vientos/Getafe, a Key industrial axis in the Conservative political led region of Madrid. INILOG were happy, at all...

In spite of this main Spanish model, private companies from Catalonia, making business directly with Airbus, obtaining interesting contracts since early the 90’s without support of Spanish political and bureaucratic authorities. Meanwhile, others companies, with full commitment of local and regional political authorities and bureaucracies, have been established around EADS, Navantia and SBS-GD main contracts.

R&D investments and applications aren’t the key of Spanish companies success at all. With exceptions, the vast majority of them acted as “integrators” of foreign systems and subsystems or, merely, as “flag intermediaries” between foreign products and Spanish decision-makers. Unfortunately, no deep analysis on these issues has been published here in Spain. Budgeting control by Congress and Senate is superficial in relation with American, British, German and French political costumes.

By the way, the Spanish Security and Defense providers system established between 1982 today should be in final crisis. Surely, today EADS lead by “el jefe” Gallois is the first winner. Some structural facts (please, read current contracts) consent a prospective that say the U.S. interest (nor necessarily GD, Boeing or LMCO ones) will be the last winner of the last EADS “typhoon”.

Over the horizon, seems that Australia obtain in every adquistion program better ratio between Security and Defense operational benefits and real economical and technological returns that the “national flag trumpeted” INILOG’s inspiring policies maintained by Spain since 1982 today…

P.S. ABC's Director OpEd:
La importancia del A-400 M This OpEd insists in the industrial and employment importance of A-400M program for Spain rather than operational and strategical issues.

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